NHS pay agreement

Pay agreement ends NHS consultant strikes

NHS consultant strikes have come to an end after union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the revised pay offer from the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said the deal will:

  • Address the gender pay gap in medicine
  • Deliver more clarity on pay progression
  • Give consultants more confidence in the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB)

The core contract for consultants has not been updated for 20 years, so this new offer will help deliver modern reform such as shared parental leave.

The DHSC highlights that the agreement will bolster efforts to cut waiting lists and improve patient care – it is estimated that over 1.4 million appointments and operations have been cancelled over the last year due to NHS strikes.

Victoria Atkins comment

After the government’s initial offer was narrowly rejected by the British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, talks reopened in February and concluded with a deal that addressed some of the concerns raised with the previous offer.

Consultant pay structure being modernised, fewer pay points and less time to reach the top are some of the headline benefits – the changes are effective from 1 March 2024.

“Consultants perform a vital role at the heart of the NHS – I’m pleased they’ve accepted this deal, which is fair for them and fair for the taxpayer,” said the prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

Other changes include the abolition of Local Clinical Excellence Awards, which are thought to contribute to pay inequalities, as well as the BMA has agreeing to stop using its rate card.

The NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Matthew Taylor, said: “NHS leaders will breathe a sigh of relief to know that there will be no further damaging industrial action from NHS consultants for the foreseeable future.”

Image credit: iStock

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