Consultant members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) in England will formally vote on whether to strike over NHS pay.
This follows unprecedented turnout by HCSA members in a consultation on the 6% 2023/24 government pay award, in which a majority voted in favour of strike action, and over a decade of real-terms pay cuts. Modelling by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that consultants have seen their pay eroded more than any other staff group.
This is the first time in almost a decade that HCSA consultants have considered striking.
Announcing the move to a formal ballot, HCSA President Dr Naru Narayanan said:
“Consultants are highly skilled professionals who have devoted their careers to providing the highest quality patient care.
“HCSA is as old as the NHS itself, and if consultant members vote to strike it will be for the first time in our history.
“We have been driven to this point by a decade of swingeing real-terms pay cuts and understaffing that threaten the future of our profession.
“These are the most experienced, most qualified professionals in our hospitals, and they are telling the government that the situation is desperate. Whether the government takes notice or not will tell us whether they care about the future of our health service.”
What happens next?
HCSA will move to a formal ballot in which consultant members in England will vote whether or not to take strike action over pay.
The process will be overseen by HCSA's Dispute Committee, which will announce dates for the opening and closing of the ballot shortly. Members will receive thier ballots by post.
HCSA is asking members to ensure that their details are fully up to date by logging in to the member portal.
If members vote Yes for strike action and the government fails to come to the table to negotiate on pay, then HCSA consultant members will strike.