Senior doctors have announced two additional strike dates next month and will leave again “in due time” following an “insulting” 6 percent pay rise.
Consultants – the NHS’s most experienced, highly trained clinicians – were already on strike on Thursday and Friday over pay.
Despite earning six-figure salaries and amid warnings of a significant impact on waiting lists, the doctors’ union yesterday announced new strike dates for August 24 and 25. The British Medical Association said they had no choice but to continue the union campaign to push for a 35 per cent wage increase.
It follows Rishi Sunak’s announcement that there will be no more talk of wage increases, describing the 6 percent deal as “final”.
Dr. Vishal Sharma, the chairman of the BMA consultants committee, announced the dates: ‘The government has imposed a brutal real wage cut on consultants. If inflation exceeds 11 percent, it is downright insulting.
Consultants – the NHS’s most experienced, highly trained clinicians – are already on strike over wages on Thursday and Friday
…Despite £126,000 in salaries
Consultants are demanding a 35 percent wage increase, which they say explains the real drop in their take-home pay since 2008.
But freedom of information figures show that 80 per cent of senior doctors earn more than £102,000 a year, while 50 per cent earn more than £126,000.
Meanwhile, the top 10 per cent earn more than £176,000, which is more than the prime minister’s annual salary. The 6 per cent pay rise announced last week means the average salary of consultants will rise to £127,000 a year, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said.
The award would be worth an average salary increase of £6,300. A senior doctor who retires at age 65 can also now expect a pension ‘in excess of £60,000 a year’.
‘Consultants have been clear that union action is a last resort, but in light of the government’s intention to devalue consultants’ expertise and their lack of consideration of the impact this has on the NHS, we have no choice.
“We therefore announced further strike dates in August and will announce more dates in due course.” The new strike will be based on Christmas Day coverage levels, meaning urgent care will still be provided.
It comes as the Health Minister challenged consultants over the decision, pointing to their £127,000 earnings and £60,000 plus annual pension.
Steve Barclay stressed that consultants already earn a ‘considerable amount of money’ and asking for more ‘is not in line with the earnings of their other NHS colleagues’.
He wrote in the Sunday Times: ‘To those consultants who still intend to strike this week over wages, despite our pay cuts and pension reforms, I now speak directly to you.
“You are an indispensable part of our NHS. I hope you consider our decision fair and reasonable and end your strikes.’
So far, at least 650,000 appointments and surgeries have been canceled during NHS strikes.