DAUK in City AM: Doctors call for strike action over ‘derisory’ pay offer as Covid hospitalisations rise

Thousands of doctors have condemned the government’s “shambolic and derisory” 3 per cent pay rise offer to NHS staff in England, threatening industrial action as Covid hospitalisations soar.

Lobbying organisation The Doctors’ Assocation (DAUK) said the 3 per cent offered “does not come close to what staff deserve” and was an “insult” from the government when the NHS has been immensely challenged by the pandemic.

DAUK also said the pay offer represents a pay cut in real terms, as inflation this year is estimated at 3.7 per cent.

The pay rise covers nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs. But crucially, it does not cover England’s 61,000 junior doctors – who make up more than 50 per cent of doctors in the NHS.

Junior doctors are three quarters of the way through a separate four-year deal that gives them 2 per cent pay rises each year, but their exclusion from the 3 per cent rise was “callous in view of the large number of doctors in training who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic,” the DAUK said in a statement.

Many have been called away from their area of expertise and had to cover rota gaps due to continuous under-staffing – especially during the ongoing “pingdemic”.

One junior doctor told City A.M that the pay rise “forgot everyone who’s had their training disrupted during the pandemic or been called up early from medical school.”

But asked if the pay row would risk a repeat of the junior doctor strikes in 2015 and 2016, they said: “It’s not like the last strike, as there’s an ongoing pandemic now.”

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