BMA to put pay offer to consultants in England

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Monday 27 November 2023
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The BMA is to put a pay offer to consultant members in England, following a month of intense negotiations with the Government.

The offer from Government is for 4.95% investment in pay1 – for this financial year - in addition to the 6% pay uplift already awarded for this year. If the offer is accepted, the changes will be applicable from January 2024, but will be paid retrospectively in April 2024.

It makes provision for much-needed changes to the consultants’ pay scale structure, which will result in fewer points at which pay increases2. Consultants will reach the top of the pay scale five years sooner than under the current scheme.

There will be an increase to the starting salary for a consultant, and to the salary at the top of the new pay scale structure. The exact amount a consultant will receive under the offer will depend on the current stage of their career.

These proposals will mean that consultants will receive a minimum of 6% in 2023/24 as a result of the previously implemented pay award. However, the majority of consultants will also receive an additional uplift, of up to 12.8%, depending on their pay point, and this will apply from January 2024. This is also separate to any DDRB pay award for 2024/25.

The reforms will particularly benefit women who take time out for caring responsibilities and who can be disadvantaged under the current system, and extend rights for enhanced shared parental leave and, therefore, make considerable progress at tackling the gender pay gap in medicine.

The offer also includes commitments to reform the DDRB – the doctors and dentists pay review body. The BMA will be given a say in the selection of members and the Government has agreed to no longer include information on economic performance in its remit letters to the DDRB and remove references to the Government’s inflation targets from the DDRB’s terms of reference.

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said:

“We are pleased that after a month of intense talks and more than six months of strike action we never wanted to take, we have now got an offer we can put to members. It is a huge shame that it has needed consultants to take industrial action to get the Government to this point when we called for talks many months ago.

“The 4.95% investment and much-needed changes to the pay scale system comes after we successfully persuaded the Government to reform the punitive pension taxation laws earlier this year, and we also now have commitments to reforming the pay review process, which has been a key ask from the profession throughout our dispute. Only by restoring the independence of this process can we hope to restore consultant pay over the coming years.

“How each consultant will benefit will depend on their individual circumstances, and we will be providing them with as much detail as we can, so they are able to look carefully through the details to help them decide whether to accept the offer.”

Detailed information about the offer and how it will affect them personally will be provided to consultant members in the coming days. BMA members will be given the opportunity to vote upon these proposals in a referendum, which is expected to open next month and close in January of next year.

If the offer is accepted, the BMA has agreed to call an end to strike action and to stop promoting the extra-contractual rate card for consultants in England. However, a re-ballot on industrial action remains open and if passed, would enable consultants to call further strikes in 2024 if the offer is rejected.


Notes to editors

  1. 1.5% of this will be recycled funding as a result of not issuing new Local Clinical Excellence Awards. Those with existing awards will keep them.
  2. This table shows the proposed new pay scales plus the total increase each band will receive under the terms of this offe.
    In the table, the final column represents the total increase in basic pay that would apply between the end of the 2023/24 fiscal year and the start of the 2024/25 year.
    However, it is important to note that backpay is only paid to January 2024 and that the uplift applied because of the 2024/25 pay round will be in addition to this.
    This graph shows the difference in pay points as a result of the offer.