Doctors strike: Medical associations warn of 'mounting exodus' of NHS staff despite pay rise announcement

Doctors strike: Medical associations warn of 'mounting exodus' of NHS staff despite pay rise

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Rishi Sunak's announcement that NHS workers - including junior doctors, NHS consults, SAS doctors, salaried dentists and salaried GPs - would receive a six per cent pay rise has not gone down well with striking union members.

Union members argue that this still equates to a pay decrease, once inflation is taking into account.

In Scotland, junior doctors were offered a 12.4 per cent by the Scottish government.

The news comes as the second day of junior doctor strikes commence, with hospital consultants set to strike next week.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned the government that “doctors are in this for the long run” as it refused to call off strikes following the announcement that the Prime Minister had accepted the recommendations of independent pay review bodies.

Professor Philip Banfield, the association’s council chairman, told LBC the chances of further doctor walkouts were “very high”.

“It’s equally possible that a UK government with higher access to funds could make that kind of negotiation possible as well,” he said.

“So I don’t believe that this is all over. I do believe that doctors are in this for the long run because we are seeing so much harm come to patients every day because of the underfunding of the NHS.”

Vice chairman of the British Dental Association (BDA), Peter Crooks, has warned that the NHS is facing an increasing number of dentists walking away from the health service.

He said: "The government should not expect applause for begrudgingly delivering a below inflation pay award to dentists and doctors.

"We're already seeing NHS dentists delivering NHS care at a financial loss. All this decision will fuel is the mounting exodus from this service."

The British Dental Association also voiced concerns that there is still no confirmation on increases for practice expenses.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has insisted that the pay awards are “final” offers to public sector workers who are striking. Mr Sunak said on Twitter that his government will “not be bullied” into “unrealistic” pay demands which he argued risked higher inflation.

The current level of CPI inflation is running at 8.7 per cent and Mr Sunak, who has promised to cut it to around 5.3 per cent by the end of the year, wants to avoid pay increases which could fuel a wage-price spiral.

In a direct message to the public sector unions, the Conservative Party leader said the pay on offer was as far as he would go.

“We will not negotiate again on this year’s settlements and no amount of strikes will change our decision,” he told a press conference on Thursday.

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