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Improving pay for SAS doctors in England

The BMA's SAS committee has secured an improved offer from Government for members have voted on in a referendum.

The revised government offer: Your questions answered webinar

How we got here

The BMA’s SAS committee opened a formal pay dispute with the Government last autumn, and held a ballot for industrial action in November and December 2023. The committee negotiated with the Government during the ballot period, and at the same time the ballot passed (with 93.76% of respondents voting for strike action), received an offer for a package of measures that it put to the BMA’s SAS doctor members in an online referendum in January to February 2024.

That first offer was rejected, with 62.3% of respondents agreeing that it did not go far enough to accept and end the dispute. That offer would have realigned pay scales for the ‘open’ 2021 SAS contracts, but did not include any increase in pay for SAS doctors on closed/older contracts.

Following the formal rejection, the BMA conducted a survey of SAS doctors in March 2024 to analyse the result in more depth. Well over 1,000 individuals responded, with a clear consensus that the offer was inadequate on pay and this is the biggest issue for SAS doctors.

The SAS committee negotiations team then re-entered negotiations with the Government, with the aim of improving the offer for all SAS doctors. The committee made it clear that progress needed to be made rapidly to avoid further escalation of the campaign, and SAS doctors began preparing for potentially taking strike action. After weeks of intense negotiations, the SAS committee negotiations team secured a major concession from Government on a pay increase for closed contracts, which had previously been a red line in their negotiating position.

The committee are now recommending a YES vote to accept the offer, which the BMA understands is the best offer we can reach through negotiations.

Results of first ballot on industrial action

SAS ballot results

The SAS doctors’ ballot on industrial action closed on 18 December and the results are as follows:

  • Turnout: 52.79%
  • Number entitled to vote: 5,204
  • Number of votes cast in the ballot: 2,747
  • Number of YES votes: 2,570 (93.76%)
  • Number of NO votes: 171 (6.24%)
  • Number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned: 6
Specialist grade doctors' ballot results

The specialist grade doctors’ ballot on industrial action closed on 8 January and the results are as follows:

  • Number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot: 235
  • Number of votes cast in the ballot: 137
  • Votes cast in the ballot as a percentage of individuals who were entitled to vote: 58.30%
  • Number of spoilt or otherwise invalid voting papers returned: 0
  • Yes: 129 (94.16%)
  • No: 8 (5.84%)
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