Why are NHS consultants on strike?

Why are NHS consultants on strike?
Consultants strike will have 'significant impact' on NHS services, says director of …

Senior hospital doctors are striking for 48 hours over pay in England.

NHS England are warning that only emergency care and some routine work will be provided, and said the timing of the industrial action had left hospitals with little time to recover given junior doctors just finished a five-day strike on Tuesday.

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They claimed the senior-doctor walkout would have the most severe impact of any strike action so far this year.

What strikes are happening?

The strikes represent the first time the consultants have taken part in strike action since 2012.

Thousands of planned appointments have been postponed.

Doctors are calling for a 35 per cent pay increase to reflect inflation but the government disagree.

What has the government said?

Indeed, health secretary Steve Barclay urged the profession to end the dispute.

He said the government had listened to their concerns, by increasing the amount that can be paid directly into pension pots tax-free, as well as accepting the recommendations of the independent pay review body and giving consultants a 6 per cent pay rise this year.

He stressed it was the government's "final offer", adding: "It is now time to put patients first."

“I am disappointed the BMA is going ahead with this week’s strike, given the average consultant’s NHS earnings are expected to increase to £134,000 a year,” he said.

“My door is always open to discuss non-pay issues, but this pay award is final so I urge the BMA to end their strikes immediately.”

What have doctors said about their strike?

But British Medical Association (BMA) consultants' committee chair, Dr Vishal Sharma, said members were "angry" and at "rock bottom" thanks to years of below-inflation pay rises.

"We are under-valued and over-worked. This government is failing us and failing patients."

Tom Dolphin, an anesthetist, said they had "no choice but to strike" and blamed the government for not negotiating.

He said real-term pay cuts were affecting recruitment and creating a patient backlog:

And here are some photos and videos of striking doctors:

How much has doctor's pay fallen by?

It depends how you measure it. The BMA uses the RPI measure of inflation, which shows, since 2008, pay has fallen by 27 per cent.

Once changes to tax and pensions over this period are factored in, the shortfall in take-home pay is 35 per cent, they claim.

But work by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, using other measures of inflation, shows the fall since 2010 is around 17 per cent.

What advice is being given to the public?

The public is still being told to dial 999 in life-threatening emergencies and to use NHS 111 online for other health concerns. GP services and pharmacies will also be running as normal.

Will there be further strike action?

Consultants plan more industrial action, on 24 and 25 August, unless a pay deal is agreed.

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