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Fixing pay for consultants in England

Consultants in England have accepted the latest Government offer on pay and DDRB reform. Learn more about our commitment to fixing pay now and for the future.

Uniting for success and for a better future

Uniting for success for a better future

Our collective efforts after months of campaigning have yielded significant achievements for consultants in England:

Rest assured, we won't be complacent about the future, and neither should you. We must and will protect these hard won rights and we can only make further progress with your support and active involvement.

Our success stems from our strength in numbers and your actions, the fight continues – now is the time to make sure you continue to be part of it.

Consultants in England accept latest Government offer on pay and DDRB reform

After months of unprecedented industrial action and campaigning, months of negotiations, and weeks of voting by BMA members, the consultants committee has accepted the latest Government offer on pay for consultants in England. Additionally, the offer includes significant reform to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Pay Review Body (DDRB). This is an important first step on the road to restoring the value of our pay and pensions.

Eligible BMA consultant members voted 83% (turnout 62%) to accept the offer, delivering a vital first step on our journey to restored pay.

View the government offer

The government offer explained

The latest Government offer on pay and DDRB reform

The new deal builds upon what was previously offered from Government and delivers some significant improvements.

Changes to pay 

The new pay deal addresses member concerns that too many consultants would have been left without an immediate uplift to pensionable pay in the previous offer. The deal builds on changes to the consultant pay scale in the original offer and now includes a 2.85% (£3,000) consolidated uplift for those who have been consultants between four and seven years.  

As pay for those who have been consultants for three years has not been further uplifted, this will therefore create an additional pay point. Progression to this new pay point will however be automatic (with no need for a pay progression meeting).  

The pay elements of the new deal will be applied in coming months and backdated to 1 March 2024. 

Consultants in England new offer table Consultants in England new offer table
Consultants in England new offer graph Consultants in England new offer graph

Pay body reform 

The process for appointing DDRB members will now allow for greater input by the BMA and other trade unions. Relevant unions will be invited to work collaboratively with the Government to prepare job specifications and be part of the panel during the sifting stage of the recruitment process. The Government has restated that DDRB members must be people of eminence and authority and has committed to increasing the remuneration for DDRB members and advertising more widely to ensure that it attracts the best calibre of appointee. 

There have been significant changes to the terms of reference that guide their recommendations. Firstly, it will be clear that the DDRB must have regard to changes in doctors pay over the years in the context of long-term trends in the wider labour, as well as considering comparator professions including relevant international comparators. This is key as the DDRB will no longer be able to ignore what has happened to our pay in past when making recommendations.  

Secondly, the DDRB will need to consider each factor within its terms of reference separately and not allow one feature to override others. This is important: when reading previous DDRB reports, they give the impression that while they recognise that pay has fallen both over time and against comparators, this was ignored because other features, such as a blunt assessment of recruitment and retention and the Government's position on affordability, dominated. With these changes the DDRB will need to have regard for each of the factors separately without them being contingent on each other.      

Thirdly, it has been clarified that the Government cannot constrain the DDRB by including information about affordability its remit and instead should confine this information within its own evidence.  

These DDRB reforms will be in place for the 2025/26 round. This is the first meaningful reforms to the DDRB since 1998 and aim to ensure that the DDRB has much greater independence and the power to make fair recommendations on doctors pay.

BMA submission of DDRB evidence for consultants in England

View here

Watch Vish Sharma, chair of the consultants committee introduce the new pay offer at the UK consultants conference on 5 March 2024.

Committed to fixing pay now and for the future

Our objective has been to achieve two things – an above inflation pay uplift for this year (2023/2024) and reforms to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) to fix pay now and for the future.

After months of hard work by our members and many hours of negotiations, we put the Government’s initial pay offer to our members via a referendum that was open between 14 December 2023 and 23 January 2024. Members rejected that offer by a close margin (51% to 4 9%).

How we got here

Pay
Declining pay

Since 2008/09 the real terms take-home pay of consultants in England has been cut by 35% and that is before the impact of this year’s soaring inflation.

This results in a huge loss of earnings during a consultant’s working life. It also impacts the value of their pension and massively reduces their income throughout retirement. 

Working in the NHS over the last fifteen years has become more challenging, more stressful, and more demanding. There is absolutely no justification for the consultants of today being valued less than they were in the recent past. As it stands, consultants are effectively expected to work until May without pay every year. 

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Your finances
Fix pay now and for the future

It’s essential that it’s fixed for the future and that we never find ourselves in this situation again

One way to achieve this is through reforming the broken doctors’ pay review body (DDRB), on whose watch that shocking decline has been allowed to happen.

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Voting Card
First ballot results

How consultants and public health consultants voted in the first ballot.

Consultants

Our consultant members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

  • Turnout: 71.08%
  • Number entitled to vote: 33,915
  • Number of votes cast in the ballot: 24,106 
  • Number of YES votes: 20,741 (86.08%)
  • Number of NO votes: 3,354 (13.92%)
  • Number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned: 11

Public health consultants ballot results

In the public health consultant ballot the turnout of 38% was below the 50% threshold for industrial action required by the Government’s anti-trade union laws.

  • Number entitled to vote: 96
  • Number of votes cast in the ballot: 37 
  • Number of YES votes: 32 (86.49%)
  • Number of NO votes: 5 (13.51%)
  • Number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned: 0
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