Vishal Sharma, 12:5

Government tables revised pay offer for consultants

Pay & Contracts
Tim Tonkin

BMA seeks agreement from senior doctors on pay and terms and conditions proposal

Consultants are being asked to back a new offer on pay and conditions, described by BMA consultants committee chair Vishal Sharma as a ‘positive step forward’.

The BMA is encouraging consultants in England to endorse a new offer CC says will further improve terms on pay as well as institute significant improvements towards renewing the independence of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.

In his address to the consultants’ conference today CC chair Vishal Sharma (pictured above) has told colleagues he believes this latest offer represents an opportunity to make ‘significant progress’ on achieving the objectives that led to consultants in England last year taking strike action.

He said: ‘For the BMA consultants committee, this offer represents a positive step forward – an opportunity to begin fixing pay for consultants and a chance to revalue the expertise and experience that consultants bring to the profession as senior leaders.

‘We believe that the reforms that come with this offer will begin to make significant progress on our original objectives, achieving an above-inflation pay uplift and restitution of the DDRB to its founding principles. This doesn’t mean that the committee believes this is the perfect offer, but we do believe in its potential to change working consultants lives for the better.’ 

He added: ‘The dynamic between us and government has changed. We have grown as a profession. We understand our power now. We know what we deserve.  We go forward from this point as a profession united. A profession which has learned just how strong it can be when it stands together.’

Supporting professional activities

The new offer retains many elements of the previous terms including a 3.45% new investment in the consultant paybill, alongside the permanent redeployment of the new local clinical excellence award funding (a further 1.5%), to enable faster progression to higher salary rates through a reduction in pay points and the introduction of shared parental leave, while incorporating further concessions from the Government.

These include a new 2.85% (£3,000) uplift for those who have been consultants between four and seven years, who under the original offer received no additional uplift. This is on top of the 6% awarded to all consultants during the DDRB process last summer. As well as ensuring no changes to terms regarding redundancy pay.

The new offer also seeks to address concerns raised about the previous offer regarding the proposals for supporting professional activities time, with this section now removed entirely from the latest offer.

The offer also pledges ‘major reform’ to the structure and processes of the DDRB, allowing the BMA and other trade unions to have greater input on recruiting and appointing members to the DDRB.

The offer would also see changes to the DDRB’s terms of reference so recommendations on pay would have to be made against international comparators and within the context of the wider labour market and macroeconomic factors.

In doing so, the BMA believes the changes will ensure far greater independence from Government for the DDRB when making recommendations on pay.

Progress check

If approved by consultants, pay elements from the offer would be backdated to 1 March 2024.

A previous offer made by the Government to consultants in England was narrowly rejected earlier this year, prompting further talks between ministers and CC.

Members will now have their say on the latest offer by voting in another digital referendum which will open on 14 March and run until 3 April.

Consultants participating in the referendum will be asked to decide whether the new government pay offer represents sufficient progress to stop consultant strikes and end the current pay dispute for consultants in England.

Meanwhile, the mandate for industrial action for consultants in England remains valid until 18 June.