In the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) pay ballot which ended on 22nd September, 84% of those returning the ballot said yes to industrial action short of strike (ASOS).
This result was put to the executive committee of the HCSA and the decision was taken to call on members to take part in industrial action in the form of ASOS. The five forms of ASOS that were agreed are as follows:
1. Take all the breaks to which they are entitled and scheduled
2. Work to their job plan
3. Decline any extra duties outside their job plan hours
4. Decline any new activities, which are not already in their job plan
5. Decline to do any extra clinics/theatre lists for waiting list initiatives
HCSA will be joining other healthcare unions to make a united stand on pay next month.
Commenting on the result, HCSA President, Professor John Schofield said:
“This result underlines two things we already know about our members, the first is that their priority is always to put their patients first, and the second is that they are not prepared to tolerate the Government’s decision on pay, and are prepared to take action short of strike. It’s true that consultants and specialists feel undervalued and undermined, but they are also angry at the treatment of other NHS colleagues.”
The decision to ballot members on pay followed the results of a consultative ballot to which just under 40% of the HCSA membership in NHS England responded. The consultative survey saw nearly 80% of members voting yes, they would be prepared to take some form of industrial action.
The HCSA took the step of consulting with members 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 the pay scale.
HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville stated:
"This is not something that we do lightly but our members have sent a clear message to this Government that enough is enough. The refusal to accept the independent award of the DDRB was a step to far. Hospital consultants and specialists are working harder and harder, morale is spiralling and they just want a fair deal for all NHS workers"