Christian Medial Fellowship
Printed from:
CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources
ss triple helix - winter 2023,  new BMA consultant deal on offer

new BMA consultant deal on offer

Mark Pickering
CMF Chief Executive Officer
After months of deadlock between the Government and the British Medical Association (BMA), a new deal is on the table for consultants in England that could unlock the long-running dispute over doctors' pay.

The previous deadlocks escalated during September and October as consultants and juniors undertook coordinated strike action - the first time in the history of the NHS that both groups had been on strike together.

Although the two groups have similar concerns, their negotiations and demands remain separate. Junior doctor leaders have continued to push for 'full pay restoration', amounting to at least 35 per cent, which the Government has rejected as unrealistic.

Consultants, on the other hand, were asking for an above-inflation pay increase to began to address pay erosion. They also sought meaningful reform of the independent body that makes pay recommendations to the Government, the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB). [1]

The Government, through Health Secretary Steve Barclay, had for some months said there would be no more negotiation on pay after accepting the DDRB's recommended offer of six per cent for doctors earlier in the year. However, things shifted significantly during November.

At the CMF Junior Doctors' Conference on 10-12 November, strike action came up in the Q&A session with the main speaker, Rev Dr Matt Lillicrap. He very helpful laid out some insightful pointers, such as:

  • Industrial action has a strong Christian history in defending the legitimate rights of workers;
  • These are matters of conscience, and we must be careful not to bind consciences in either direction. It's also entirely appropriate to reconsider our view and change our position in light of shifting situations;
  • Can we articulate cogent Christian reasons for taking industrial action, and if so, can we express these with sufficient distinctiveness in our words and actions when others may be following much more self-interested agendas?

This felt like a significant moment, and it led us to pray corporately in that Saturday evening conference session for the Lord to act.

Fascinatingly, on the following Monday morning, the sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman led to a wider cabinet reshuffle, resulting in a new Health & Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins. This fresh impetus and opportunity appears to have been crucial in the new deal being agreed between the Government and BMA negotiators less than two weeks later. What an incentive for us to keep on praying!

The new deal on offer is significant, with a further average uplift of 4.95 per cent and a simplification of pay banding that would mean junior consultant pay would increase more rapidly in future. Concessions made by the BMA negotiators include relinquishing some existing top-up payments and reducing current demands for premium pay rates for overtime shifts. [2]

The deal will now go to BMA consultant members, with a result expected in January. There is significant hope that progress here will help to unlock the more entrenched junior doctor pay demands too.

There is a long way to go still. Morale remains low amongst doctors, and there is a risk that this new offer may reignite pay disputes with nurses and other lower-paid healthcare workers. [3] Meanwhile, waiting lists are higher than ever, with almost eight million waiting for routine treatment. The NHS continues to be under severe strain. Let's pray for the Lord to work and for all those in leadership positions to act with integrity and wisdom.

(accessed 29/11/23)
  1. Fixing pay for consultants in England. BMA Campaigns.
  2. Triggle N. Fresh pay offer could end NHS consultant strikes. BBC News Online. 27 November 2023.
  3. Smali J. Consultant pay offer will make future nurse strikes 'more likely'. Nursing in Practice. 27 November 2023.
Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
Contact Phone020 7234 9660
Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
© 2024 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd   
Technical: ctrlcube