The British Medical Association (BMA) took a consultative ballot and it revealed that Consultants in England are supportive of industrial action.
This comes off the back of a long string of strikes my medical and healthcare professionals alike over issues of pay, long work hours, and not enough staff.
According to the union, consultants have realized pay cuts of 35% after inflation is accounted for.
As disputes with doctors continue to escalate, the position of consultants becomes increasingly fragile. A 72-hour strike is planned for next week by junior doctors over pay issues. This will include walkouts on both emergency and planned care, leaving consultants with the brunt of the work and expected to cover A&E units. This also puts routine treatments (i.e. knee and hip operations) at risk of major disruption.
The BMA consultative ballot showed that 86% of consultants were in favour of industrial action. This was on 61% turnout, which is well over the required 50% threshold.
Consultants are fed up with pay, earning an average of £122,000 last year, and objecting to the pension rules which mean they face high tax bills due to reaching the upper threshold limit for pension contributions.
While the BMA consultative ballot is not a legal mandate for a strike, the BMA it is threatening to proceed to a formal ballot of the government doesn’t act by 3 April 2023, adding even more pressure to the negotiating currently being undertaken with the numerous other unions in the healthcare sector.