Nurses plot new strikes after senior doctors received 13% wage boost

Nurses in England may return to the picket lines after reacting angrily to the government’s offer of a double-digit pay increase for consultants, with the promise of another wage increase to follow.

Officials have reached an agreement in which consultants will receive a pay increase of up to 13% for the current fiscal year, however it will not be paid until April 2024. They will be given another boost in 2024/25, the amount of which has yet to be determined.

Consultants are among the highest-paid NHS employees, with starting salaries starting at just under £94,000 and increasing to more than £126,000. They went on strike alongside junior doctors this year after receiving a 6% wage increase.

The new agreement includes an additional 4.95 percent increase in the salary budget, but the overall increase for an individual consultant would range from zero to nearly 12.8 percent for the majority as part of a contract redesign.

The offer will now be made to members of the British Medical Association (BMA) as well as those of the considerably smaller Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA).

Strikes by top hospital physicians in England would end if a settlement is reached, however discussions between the Government and specialist, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS) and junior doctors are still ongoing.

Rishi Sunak said: “Ending damaging strike action in the NHS is vitally important if we want to continue making progress towards cutting waiting lists while making sure patients get the care they deserve.

“This is a fair deal for consultants who will benefit from major reform to their contract, it is fair for taxpayers because it will not risk our ongoing work to tackle inflation, and most importantly it is a good deal for patients to see the end of consultant industrial action.”

However nurses, who had only been offered a 5 per cent pay rise this year after months of strikes, said they were “appalled” at the consultants’ deal.

Professor Nicola Ranger, the Royal College of Nursing’s Chief Nurse, said: “The Government has shown it has the political will to reform pay for some of the highest earners in the NHS – while our members are left with the lowest pay rise in the public sector.

“Nursing staff work closely with consultants, and we too have campaigned for years to have quicker progression through the pay scale. This would help recognise nurses’ safety-critical and life-saving skills, and yet many spend most of their career stuck on the same NHS pay band.

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