Senior doctors across England will be voting on whether or not they should take strike action to achieve their pay demands.
The British Medical Association (BMA) ballot is due to be open until Monday, June 27, with the association urging its members to support industrial action.
They are not the only ones in the medical sector considering strikes. The Royal College of Nursing is also preparing to hold a ballot to see if its members want further strikes after they rejected the Government’s recent offer of a five per cent rise in 2023-2014 alongside a one-off payment.
But why are senior doctors considering going on strike and when would this potential strike happen if the members vote in favour of it?
Here is everything we know.
Why are senior doctors in England considering industrial action?
Senior doctors are dissatisfied with their take-home pay decline over the years, especially with the recent inflation rates taken into account.
Talking about it on BBC Breakfast this morning, the BMA consultants committee chair Dr Vishal Sharma explained: “We have seen our take-home pay decline by 35% since 2008-9 and this is even before the impact of this year’s soaring inflation has been considered. As a result of this, consultants are now effectively working four months of the year for free.
“Even as late as this weekend, we remained hopeful that we would secure a pay offer that went some way toward making up for the decline we have seen. Unfortunately, however, given that inflation remains in double digits, the final offer from government represented yet another real-terms pay cut.
“On the back of 15 years of our pay declining, we simply could not accept a deal that continued this downward trend and have been left with no option but to proceed today with the ballot for industrial action.”
We’re left with no option but to ballot our members in England for strike action. The door remains open for the Government to avert strikes by coming back to the table with a reasonable offer to #FixConsultantPay.
@Vish_Sharm speaks to BBC Breakfast 👇 pic.twitter.com/e0IZp0GbQE
— BMA Consultants (@BMA_Consultants) May 15, 2023
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has recently commented on the matter, saying: “We hugely value the work of NHS consultants and they received a 4.5% pay uplift last financial year, increasing average earnings to around £128,000.
“We urge the BMA to carefully consider the likely impact of any action on patients.”
When would senior doctors go on strike?
It is unclear on which dates the strike action would take place.
Following the ballot, if the outcome is pro-striking, the union would reveal further details about the dates and times of the industrial action, as well as any plans put in place to keep vulnerable and urgent-care patients safe.