NHS consultants in England to be balloted in May for industrial action

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Monday 3 April 2023
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The BMA will ballot NHS consultants in England for strike action from the 15th May if the Government does not meet its demands for restoring consultants’ pay and reforming the broken pay review body.

The decision to move the date for opening the ballot1 comes following constructive talks with the Treasury that resulted in significant changes to pension taxation and positive discussions with the Health Secretary who has committed to meaningful talks on how to reform the pay review body and improve consultants’ pay. Whilst these talks are still at an early stage, the BMA has agreed to pause launching the ballot to allow the talks to take place.

This new date provides the Department for Health and Social Care with ample time to continue its engagement with the BMA and work towards an offer that will reverse the erosion of consultant pay and restore the pay review body to its original purpose and independence. 

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said: 

“After fifteen years of real terms pay cuts, the Government’s commitment to enter talks about how to restore consultants’ pay and reform the DDRB is long overdue.  Both doctors and the NHS bear the scars of the broken pay review process. Unless these issues are fixed, the NHS will continue to haemorrhage talent and essential expertise, leaving patients without the highly skilled doctors they need to care for them. 

“It’s positive that the Health Secretary has agreed to talks; we now hope that he will use this extension to make a substantive offer to fix consultants’ pay and the broken pay review process. Strike action is always a last resort and we have agreed to delay our ballot in good faith to enable constructive talks to take place. However, if the Government refuses to deliver a meaningful solution, our members have made it clear that they are ready to strike. It is entirely in the Government’s gift to prevent that.” 


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. Consultants in England ‘ready to strike’, as BMA consultative ballot shows overwhelming support for industrial action