The BMA has rejected today’s 6% pay rise despite the Prime Minister warning it is ‘final’ and ‘no amount of strikes’ will change the Government’s decision.
The doctors’ union said the pay offer was ‘another real-terms pay cut’ and warned that strikes would ‘likely’ continue, and that ‘other groups’ of doctors would also consider action.
NHS consultants, SAS doctors, salaried dentists and salaried GPs are covered by the pay offer, while junior doctors are offered a 6% pay rise plus £1,250. GP partners are excluded.
Appealing ‘in particular’ to ‘doctors and consultants’, the Prime Minister urged them to ‘do the right thing, and know when to say yes’.
He said: ‘We have a national mission for all of us to make the NHS strong again. The Government has not only made today’s decision on pay.
‘We’ve backed the NHS with record funding; delivered the first ever, fully funded Long-Term Workforce Plan; and met the BMA’s number one ask of government, with a pensions tax cut worth £1bn.’
Union leaders should ask themselves how it can ‘be right to continue disruptive industrial action’ when the strikes ‘lead to tens of thousands of appointments being cancelled – every single day – and waiting lists going up, not down’, he said.
Adding: ‘So: today’s offer is final. There will be no more talks on pay. We will not negotiate again on this year’s settlements. And no amount of strikes will change our decision.
‘Instead, the settlement we’ve reached today gives us a fair way to end the strikes; a fair deal for workers; and a fair deal for the British taxpayer.’
But the BMA said that junior doctors and consultants are ‘likely to continue to take industrial action’ and that it is ‘highly likely’ that other groups of doctors represented by the BMA will also consider their next steps.
The union said that the offer ‘demonstrates exactly why doctors feel they have no choice’ but to take industrial action and that this pay uplift ‘still fails tens of thousands of frontline staff’.
The BMA’s chair of council Professor Phil Banfield said: ‘This offer is exactly why so many doctors are feeling they have no option but to take industrial action as they have suffered years of below-inflation pay awards and once again the Government and the DDRB have both failed to address that in this year’s uplift.
‘Today’s announcement represents yet another pay cut in real terms and serves only to increase the losses faced by doctors after more than a decade’s worth of sub-inflation pay awards.
‘It completely ignores the BMA’s calls to value doctors for their expertise by full pay restoration to 2008/2009 levels.’
Doctors ‘have long lost all confidence’ in the ‘supposed independence’ of the pay review body, Professor Banfield added, while accusing the Government on sitting for ‘weeks’ on its unpublished recommendation.
Pulse had already reported that Scottish GPs were receiving a 6% pay rise based on the unpublished DDRB report.
‘Ministers have known these details for weeks and allowed junior doctors to continue to strike without putting this offer to them as part of negotiations,’ said ProfessorBanfield.
‘This was disingenuous, showing total disregard for both doctors and patients, and demonstrated how little they care about wanting to bring an end to the industrial action.’
He said that the Government should not be supporting pay uplifts which don’t reverse years of sub inflation pay awards, and that it is ‘driving doctors away from the NHS and this country’.
Professor Banfield added: ‘The narrative that public sector pay fuels inflation has been discredited by economists.
‘Public sector workers are not only working in underfunded services, but they are now being asked to pay for them through further cuts and proposed increased visa costs.
‘The political choices this Government is making continue to make ordinary people sicker and poorer; that is an unconscionable position for a “civilised” society to be in.
Although the BMA’s GP Committee has given up on arranging industrial action in protest over the imposed 2023/24 contract, it is laying the ground for potential ballots should ongoing negotiations on the next contract not go to plan.
However, yesterday the RCGP chair told MPs GPs did not show a particular willingness to take action over pay.