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Government doubles pay offer to hospital consultants, infuriating nurses

NURSES were left infuriated today after the government made an improved pay offer for hospital consultants in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that it had reached an agreement with the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) after a month of talks and more than six months of strikes.

Union members will now vote on the deal which offers the majority of consultants an additional uplift of up to 12.8 per cent from next January — more than double the minimum of 6 per cent in 2023/24 as a result of the previously implemented pay award — although it won’t be paid until April.

BMA consultants committee chair Dr Vishal Sharma said: “It is a huge shame that it has needed consultants to take industrial action to get the government to this point when we called for talks many months ago.”

HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan said: “In coming days, we shall do our utmost to educate our consultant members so they can make their own informed decision. Whatever that decision is, we shall be led by our members.”

But Royal College of Nursing chief nurse Nicola Ranger said: “Nursing staff will be appalled by this announcement and where it leaves them.

“It’s galling that almost 12 months since nursing staff took the unprecedented decision to strike, our pay dispute remains unresolved, and the government continues to undervalue our profession.

“Today’s news will ignite our members’ fury further, making nursing strikes more likely in the future.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the deal was “fair” for both consultants and taxpayers.

Talks between the government and specialist, associate specialist and speciality doctors and junior doctors continue.

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