The UK Government and unions representing consultant doctors in the National Health Service (NHS) in England have reached an agreement to present a reform package to union members.

The offer will build on the 6% wage raise previously awarded for 2023 to 2024.

If accepted, the proposal would result in an additional uplift of 4.95%, applicable from January 2024.

This offer aims to modernise the consultant contract and pay structure, addressing concerns while introducing contractual reforms that have not been updated for 20 years.

The proposal includes enhanced shared parental leave, a reduction in the number of pay points, and new pay progression arrangements.

If approved by union members, the agreement would end consultant strike action, benefiting patients and aiding in reducing waiting lists.

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is a fair deal for consultants who will benefit from major reform to their contract, it is fair for taxpayers because it will not risk our ongoing work to tackle inflation, and most importantly it is a good deal for patients to see the end of consultant industrial action.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) will present the offer to their members for a vote in the coming weeks.

Most of the consultants would get an additional uplift, of up to 12.8%, based on their pay point, stated BMA, adding that the reforms also aim to mitigate the gender pay gap in medicine.

According to the BMA, the reforms “will particularly benefit women who take time out for caring responsibilities and who can be disadvantaged under the current system’, and ‘extend rights for enhanced shared parental leave’ therefore making ‘considerable progress at tackling the gender pay gap in medicine”.

The government has committed to working with unions to review the pay review process for doctors, and the reforms are separate from the pay-setting process.

Junior doctors in the UK are also engaged in pay negotiations, with details kept confidential during active discussions.