HCSA to meet Secretary of State tomorrow over looming pay dispute

HCSA - the hospital doctors’ union will tomorrow meet Health Secretary Steve Barclay alongside the British Medical Association and British Dental Association to try to avert a looming dispute over pay.

The meeting comes as HCSA junior doctor members in England vote on strike action over last year’s 2 percent pay award. The HCSA ballot closes on 20th January, with walkouts potentially taking place as early as February.

HCSA President Dr Naru Narayanan said: “We shall go into tomorrow’s meeting with an open mind but it is essential that the government realises the mood of the medical workforce. Hospital doctors are leaving the NHS at a time we can least afford it and morale is at rock bottom. Pay and pensions are at the heart of the issue.

“They cannot expect Junior Doctors in particular to just move on from another pay award in 2022 that fell lamentably short of inflation. There is every chance of a strike vote due to the complacent attitude by successive governments towards clear and growing alienation.

“The tabling of new anti-union legislation sends the message that the government prefers to use the law to suppress the symptoms of years of pay cuts rather than tackle the root cause which is driving NHS staff to walk out on strike or out of the service altogether.

“What we need to see is real intent to negotiate for a settlement which prevents the loss of hospital doctors whose pay has fallen by more than a quarter over a decade. The ball is firmly in the government’s court. Offering jam tomorrow, thinly spread, will not help.”