Members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association in England have overwhelmingly voted ’yes’, that they are prepared to take industrial action over the Governments rejection of the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) recommendations on NHS Pay. The HCSA has been consulting with its members working for the NHS in England for the past three weeks. The consultation which closed on Monday 18th August asked if HCSA members would be prepared to take industrial action.
Just under 40% of the HCSA membership in NHS England responded to the survey with nearly 80% of members voting yes to say they would be prepared to take some form of industrial action
Members were asked two questions, firstly if they would be in favour of taking strike action, secondly if they would be in favour of taking action short of strike action. The response to both questions was clear, over 52% of those voting yes said they would be willing to take strike action and over 68% of those voting yes said they would be willing to take action short of strike action.
The HCSA executive held an extraordinary meeting this week and agreed to progress to a formal ballot on industrial action.
The consultation on pay came after the Government rejected the recommendation of the independent Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) to award NHS medical staff a 1% consolidated increase. The DDRB said when it made its recommendation that this was affordable for the NHS and the Government. The Government instead awarded a 1% non-consolidated payment for 12 months, but only to those on the top of their pay scale.
Professor John Schofield, HCSA President said “We have received a clear message from our Consultant and Specialist members that they are deeply unhappy about the Government’s position on remuneration in the NHS. Doctors have only very rarely indicated any willingness to undertake industrial action, and it demonstrates the strength of feeling within our profession. We will continue to listen to our members and represent their views to NHS Employers. I hope that we can encourage further dialogue between the Government, employers and unions to avoid the possibility of action”.
The HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville commented, "This is an overwhelming response and sends a clear signal to this Government that Consultants and Specialists are angry and frustrated by their decision not to honour these independent recommendations. Consultants and specialists are working harder than ever to meet increasing demands, and cope with underfunding. Morale is on a downward spiral, motivation is waning and many doctors are feeling stressed and undervalued. I do urge the Government to rethink their approach now and for the future."