Consultants in England accept government’s pay and reforms offer

Consultants in England payConsultants in England have accepted the government’s latest offer on pay and reforms to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB), ending a long-running dispute that has involved industrial action.

A total of 83% of consultants, who are part of the British Medical Association (BMA), voted in favour, with a turnout of 62%.

The deal, which the BMA said is an improvement on the government’s previous proposal to reform the consultant pay scale and an offer that was rejected in January, includes fewer pay points and a reduction in the time it takes for a consultant to reach the top of the scale.

It includes a 2.85%, or £3,000, uplift for those who have been consultants between four and seven years who received no additional uplift under a previous offer. This is in addition to the 6% pay uplift awarded during the review body’s process last summer and is separate to the pay award following the outcome of the process for 2024/25.

In addition, the review body’s terms of reference will be changed next year to include developments in earnings over time in the context of long-term trends in the wider labour market, comparator professions, and relevant international comparators. The government will not be able to constrain its remit with reference to inflation targets and economic evidence.

Dr Vishal Sharma, chair of the BMA consultants and pensions committees, said: “Consultants have spoken and now clearly feel that this offer is enough of a first step to address our concerns to end the current dispute. However, it’s now imperative that the DDRB utilises its independence to restore doctors’ pay and prevent any further disputes from arising.

“We’ve reached this point not just through our tough negotiations with the government, but thanks to the resolve of consultants, who took the difficult decision to strike, and did so safely and effectively, on multiple occasions, sending a clear message that they would not back down. At the heart of this dispute was our concern for patients and the future sustainability of the NHS. All eyes will be on this year’s pay review round, recommendations from the DDRB and response from the government.”