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Senior Doctors To Start Voting On Whether To Strike Over Pay Dispute

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Senior doctors in England start voting on Monday whether to strike in the continuing dispute over pay in the health service.

Dr Vishal Sharma, who chairs the BMA (British Medical Association) consultants committee, said talks had been held with the government to try to resolve the row, but it remains deadlocked.

Speaking on behalf of consultants, he said their take-home pay had declined by 35% since 2008/09.

“As a result of this, consultants are now effectively working four months of the year for free,” he added.

“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 in double digits, the government’s final offer represented “yet another real-terms pay cut”, leaving consultants with “no option” but to proceed with the ballot for industrial action.

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

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the BMA should “carefully consider the likely impact of any action on patients.”

It added: “We hugely value the work of NHS consultants, and they received a 4.5% pay uplift last financial year, increasing average earnings to around £128,000.

“They will also benefit from generous changes to pension taxation announced in the budget and are eligible to apply for additional financial awards worth up to £40,000 a year as part of the NHS consultant contract.”

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Nurses’ strikes could last ‘until Xmas’ Nursing union wants more pay talks

It comes as the head of the UK’s nursing union said she wants to restart negotiations seeking a double-digit pay rise, despite previously recommending a lower offer.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), advised members to accept an offer of 5%, but they voted to reject it.

On Sunday, cabinet minister Grant Shapps told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, that the decision to seek a double-digit pay rise is “confusing”.

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On the A&E frontline on second day of junior doctors’ strike

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Nurses’ pay decision ‘confusing’ Ms Cullen said the decision by nurses to reject the deal was them saying “loud and clear” that the offer – of a 9% increase consolidated over two years – was “just not enough”.

RCN members will be balloted again for strike action on 23 May after the existing six-month mandate ran out at the start of the month.