Senior medical professionals support strikes in England

ward of the NHS

In their fight for higher pay, NHS consultants in England have decided to go on strike.

The British Medical Association reported that 86 percent of its members supported walkouts in protest of what they called ongoing pay reductions.

If doctors supported action, the union had already stated that a 48-hour walkout would occur on July 20 and 21.

It comes after a five-day junior doctors' strike; the two events together are likely to cause significant service disruptions and treatment cancellations.

The junior doctors' strike will end on July 18 across all services.

During their own strike, consultants will be providing emergency care in addition to a very small amount of routine work, which is being referred to as "Christmas Day cover.".

When RPI inflation is taken into account, consultant pay has decreased by 27% since 2008, but the BMA reported that the take-home pay reduction was actually 35% after adjustments for tax and pension contributions.

The freezing of income tax thresholds and the implementation of an additional 45 percent tax rate for the highest earners are two significant contributing factors in this.

For consultants in 2022, the average NHS salary was over £126,000; this figure includes bonus pay for overtime and performance.

Consultants are not requesting full pay restoration all at once, in contrast to junior doctors, who will participate in their third walkout in their pay dispute next week.

Instead, they would like to see the government at least begin to increase salaries in line with inflation.

They received a pay increase of 4.5 percent last year, which is less than half the rate of RPI inflation for the March-through-March period.

In the meantime, the Royal College of Nursing's vote did not receive a significant enough turnout to give the union approval to continue its strike action.

The long-running dispute with nurses is now over thanks to that outcome, which was also made public on Tuesday.

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