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Senior physicians vote to decide whether to strike over salary

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Today is the first day of voting for senior NHS physicians in England to decide whether to strike for wages.

According to Dr. Vishal Sharma, chair of the BMA consultants committee, discussions with the government have been made in an effort to resolve the protracted disagreement, but little progress has been made.

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Speaking on behalf of consultants, he stated, “We have seen a decline in our take-home pay of 35% since 2008/9 and this is even before the impact of this year’s soaring inflation has been considered.”

This has led to consultants working effectively four months of the year for no pay

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‘Even as late as this weekend, we remained hopeful that we would secure a pay offer that went some way toward making up for the decline we have seen.’

But, he said, with inflation remaining in ‘double digits’ the final offer from the government still represented a pay cut in real-terms.

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Dr Sharma added: ‘On the back of 15 years of our pay declining, we simply could not accept a deal that continued this downward trend and have been left with no option but to proceed today with the ballot for industrial action.’

He said consultants did not want to take industrial action, adding: ‘Ultimately the government made a political choice to cut our pay again this year and unless we can secure a commitment that the government will take the necessary steps to restore our pay over the long term, we simply cannot accept an offer that sees our pay fall even further.’

Dr Sharma has previously said the ‘NHS is on its knees’ and ‘senior doctors are cutting their hours or leaving the NHS in droves, driven out of jobs they love by unfair pension tax rules and brutal cuts to their pay’.

The ballot is open from Monday until June 27 and the BMA is urging members to vote yes.

The vote follows a series of strikes over pay this year by NHS ambulance staff, nurses and junior doctors.


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