JUNIOR and senior doctors have joined forces on NHS picket lines for the first time today.
The row over pay has continued to escalate, with the British Medical Association demanding the Government brings a “credible offer” to the table.
Consultants in England hinted a deal of under 12 per cent — similar to what junior doctors received in Scotland — would be enough to call off their strikes.
But Health Secretary Steve Barclay stood firm, saying ministers have already offered them their “number one ask” of an “extremely generous change to pension taxation”.
He told Times Radio: “We’ve accepted in full the independent pay review body request, which means for a junior doctor, a pay rise of up to 10.3 per cent.
“The average pay rise for a junior doctor is 8.8 per cent.”
Mr Barclay said the strikes “risk damaging patients”, with more than 1million appointments expected to be cancelled by the end of the year because of action.
Dr Visal Sharma, of the BMA Consultants Committee, suggested consultants would accept an offer above inflation in April, which stood at 11.4 per cent, in a letter to Rishi Sunak.
He said: “This is not dissimilar to the settlement in Scotland for junior doctors which demonstrates that this is deliverable.” Scottish junior doctors agreed a pay increase of 12.4 per cent for 2023 to 2024 in August.
The move from consultants would distance them from junior doctors in England, who are demanding 35 per cent and joined the strikes this morning.
Dr Sharma slammed the Health Secretary for “misleading the public” about doctors’ pensions and the independence of the pay review process.
He said: “The numbers Mr Barclay is quoting in no way reflect what a typical consultant can expect to receive in retirement.
“To add to this he is categorically wrong to deny the way the Government rigs the pay review system – something one of his own MPs admitted to.
“This is a shameful attempt from the Government to discredit the NHS’s most expert doctors and our fight to fix pay for the profession.”