BMA secures offer for SAS doctor members to vote on – and historic industrial action mandate

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Monday 18 December 2023

After months of intense negotiations with the Government, the BMA has secured an offer for SAS doctors1 that it will now put to members.

On the same day, the BMA has achieved a historic industrial action mandate for SAS doctors, for the first time in 60 years of the grade, meaning they could still strike if the offer is rejected.

The offer proposes changes to pay scales for specialty and specialist doctors on the 2021 contracts, with an additional uplift of between 6.10% and 9.22%, depending on where an individual sits on the scale. This is in addition to the uplift provided to these doctors as part of the pay review process for 2023/24.2

If accepted, any uplifts would take effect from January 2024, and would have no impact on a separate future award decided by the pay review process for 2024/25.

While there are no changes to pay points for closed contracts, SAS doctors on these contracts will be able to move on to the 2021 contract if they wish to. The possibility for movement is offered on an indefinite basis.

Additionally, the offer commits £5m to support employers to create more specialist doctor roles, offering the potential for career progression for specialty doctors to these more senior roles.

It also offers a commitment from Government, NHS England and NHS Employers to work with the BMA to determine how locally employed doctors (LEDs) can be better supported to progress in their careers, including enabling them to move to permanent SAS contracts.

The offer comes as associate specialists and specialty doctors, as well as other SAS grade doctors and some locally employed doctors, secured a mandate for taking strike action, with an overwhelming 93.76% voting in favour.3 Specialist doctors are still being balloted, with their vote returning early next year.

While the BMA’s SAS UK committee has said it will not call for any industrial action while SAS members consider the offer, the result of these two ballots will determine whether all SAS doctors could strike should the offer be rejected.

Dr Ujjwala Mohite, chair of the SAS UK Committee at the BMA, said: “Today signifies the immense progress that SAS doctors have been able to make in their fight to restore our members’ value. Not only have we achieved an impressive mandate for strike action, but the Government has also, after long negotiations, finally put a credible offer on the table.

“The results of today’s ballot show the enormous strength of feeling on the ground among SAS doctors, and how important it is to our members that the Government values the work that they do.

“Of course, we don’t ever want to have to take strike action, which is why we’re delighted to see an offer that, we feel, is deserving of our members’ consideration. But make no mistake: if our members don’t think that this offer reflects their worth, then we won’t hesitate in returning to the Government to renegotiate and, if it comes to it, move forward with industrial action.

“We will be providing detailed information to our members about the offer in the coming days, so they are able to make a decision about whether to accept it.”

The referendum on the offer will open once the ballot of specialty doctors has been returned in the New Year.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives. 

  1. SAS doctors, which stands for specialist, associate specialist, and specialty doctors, are senior and highly skilled healthcare professionals who, for many different reasons, decided not to follow the traditional consultant or GP pathway. The majority work in hospitals, alongside junior doctors and consultants, but some also work in the community. Like other groups of doctors, they have seen their pay fall by significantly over the last 15 years.
  2. This table shows the difference in pay points as a result of the offer:

2021 Specialty doctor pay scale

Years of experience

Current specialty doctor pay scale (2021 contract)

Government’s offer of revised specialty doctor pay scale with effect from 1 January 2024

Pay scale uplift (%)

Pay scale uplift (£)

0

£52,530

£55,825

6.27%

£3,295

1

£52,530

£55,825

6.27%

£3,295

2

£52,530

£55,825

6.27%

£3,295

3

£60,519

£64,315

6.27%

£3,796

4

£60,519

£64,315

6.27%

£3,796

5

£60,519

£64,315

6.27%

£3,796

6

£67,465

£71,696

6.27%

£4,231

7

£67,465

£71,696

6.27%

£4,231

8

£67,465

£71,696

6.27%

£4,231

9

£74,675

£79,359

6.27%

£4,684

10

£74,675

£79,359

6.27%

£4,684

11

£74,675

£79,359

6.27%

£4,684

12

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

13

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

14

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

15

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

16

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

17

£82,400

£90,000

9.22%

£7,600

2021 Specialist doctor pay scale

Years of experience

Current specialist doctor pay scale (2021 contract)

Government’s offer of revised specialist doctor pay scale with effect from 1 January 2024

Pay scale uplift (%)

Pay scale uplift (£)

Min

£83,945

£91,500

9.0%

£7,555

1

£83,945

£91,500

9.0%

£7,555

2

£83,945

£91,500

9.0%

£7,555

3

£89,610

£95,079

6.1%

£5,469

4

£89,610

£95,079

6.1%

£5,469

5

£89,610

£95,079

6.1%

£5,469

6

£95,275

£101,089

6.1%

£5,814

3. Ballot results breakdown:

Turnout was 52.79%

5,204 SAS doctors were entitled to vote in the ballot

2,747 votes were cast

2,570 (93.76%) answered 'Yes’ to the question: ‘Are you prepared to take part in strike action?’

171 (6.24%) answered ‘No’ to the question: ‘Are you prepared to take part in strike action?’

Six spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned