Thousands of doctors are calling for strike action over the Government’s 3 per cent pay rise offer for NHS staff in England which they have condemned as “shambolic and derisory”.
The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), a grassroots lobbying organisation, said it was dismayed at the award which it said represented a real-terms pay cut as inflation is estimated to be 3.7 per cent this year. The influential group said it was “an insult” to describe the offer as fair “at a time when doctors have given their lives and livelihoods” to the coronavirus pandemic, with no clear end in sight.
It said the Government’s decision to exclude junior doctors from the offer, who make up more than 50 per cent of doctors in the NHS, was “callous in view of the large number of doctors in training who have worked tirelessly” since Covid-19 struck.
The group said it consulted members on Wednesday night and an overwhelming majority supported industrial action. DAUK plan to hold an emergency meeting with members soon to formulate its next steps.
DAUK chair Dr Jenny Vaughan said: “Any improvement on the derisory 1 per cent previously offered to NHS workers is welcomed, but 3 per cent barely takes the edge off the erosion of doctors’ pay over two decades. Doctors in the NHS have suffered a 30 per cent pay cut in real terms, and after inflation this ‘pay rise’ will ultimately be a pay freeze.
“DAUK’s campaign ‘fair say for fair pay’ demonstrated the extremes staff have been put through during the pandemic – the effects of which are only starting to be realised. It is time to pay and we hope the [doctors’ unions] British Medical Association and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association as well as allied health professional unions will join us in voicing our discontent – including taking industrial action.”
Health unions are to consult their members regarding industrial action following the pay offer. Nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs come under the new pay deal, which is three times higher than the Government’s initial 1 per cent offer.