Consultants’ union voices concerns at NHS pay offer

Hospital doctors’ union the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) has expressed ‘concerns’ at aspects of the long-awaited NHS pay offer announced today for consultants in England.

Dr Naru Narayanan

Its president Dr Naru Narayanan said: ‘Today’s announcement follows weeks of intense negotiations. Yet while it has benefits for consultants, our executive expressed concerns about some parts of the package, including around changes to pay progression and time for supporting professional activities.

‘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.’

The HCSA plans to ballot consultant members in England on the Government’s offer, which it said was reached in tripartite negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care and the BMA, and had agreed to pause strikes by consultants while the ballot was open.

But Dr Narayanan added that a mandate members had given for industrial action would remain in place.

Members will be asked to vote on the package of proposed changes to the core pay spine, alongside other benefits and amendments to terms and conditions. 

The HCSA said its executive committee’s concerns over some details of the package precluded it from taking a formal position to accept the offer.


The package includes:

  • Uplifts to several pay spine points funded by additional government investment (3.45%) alongside the recycling of future LCEA allocation (1.5%);
  • A reduction in the number of pay spine points on the consultant scale and the years it takes to progress to the top point;
  • Additional performance requirements which must be met prior to employer authorising pay progression, replacing automatic pay progression;
  • The end of future Local Clinical Excellence Awards (LCEAs);
  • Protections for existing old-style LCEA holders;
  • Enhanced shared parental leave;
  • Changes which would permit ‘supporting professional activities’ time beyond that required for revalidation and appraisal, to be redirected by agreement towards government priorities;
  • Limited commitments to revise the DDRB pay review process.