Junior NHS doctors are on strike for three days in June
Junior doctors in NHS England have announced another three-day walkout next month and threatened to strike throughout the summer after talks with the government broke down over a long-running pay dispute.
Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said they would call for at least three days of action every month for the duration of the strike mandate, unless the government changed its stance. The escalation came after ministers offered a 5 per cent pay rise, which the BMA rejected as “simply not a credible offer”.
Suggesting that four in 10 junior doctors now want to leave the NHS amid the workforce crisis, junior leaders added: “This is not the time for the government to play games with pay.”
Since the four-day strike in April, the BMA has held three weeks of negotiations with the government. Junior doctors are pushing for a deal to restore pay, arguing that they have suffered a real drop of more than 26 per cent over the past 15 years.
The increase offered by the government was not only aimed at dealing with wage erosion, but it would not even have reached this year’s inflation. “We are not attending these meetings to agree to further cut our salaries and the government knows that. It was simply not a credible offer,” the physician leaders added.
The latest promotion will take place between 7am on June 14th and 7am on June 17th.
The government said it was “both surprising and deeply disappointing” that the junior doctors’ committee had called another strike while “constructive” negotiations continued. The latest move would be “very disruptive to patients and put pressure on other NHS staff”, it said.
Pointing out that ministers had “made a fair and reasonable opening offer and actively negotiated both pay and non-pay issues”, he accused the BMA of being “unwilling to meaningfully move away from their unaffordable pay demands”.
The Government has been clear that the strikes must be suspended while negotiations take place, so although the BMA has decided to end our current talks, we remain prepared to resume them at any time if the strikes are called off.
Trivedi and Laurenson said they were willing to continue the conversation and were expected to meet Health Secretary Steve Barclay on Wednesday “where we hope he will come up with a credible offer”.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health organizations across the country, said the “deeply worrying prospect” of another 72-hour walkout by junior doctors would “lead to significant disruption to patient care”.
The strike action across the NHS since December has led to the cancellation of at least 300,000 operations and appointments.
The NHS Staff Council, which represents 14 healthcare unions, accepted a 5 percent pay rise offer for the period 2023-24 earlier this month, in addition to two non-pooled payments for the period 2022-23, so-called employees in England. Agenda for Change payment framework.
However, the Royal College of Nursing has voted to reject the settlement and will be polling its members as it seeks another six-month strike mandate.
NHS consultants – the most senior doctors in the health service – and radiographers will also vote on whether to walk out to support their own pay demands.
Cordery added: “It is vital that serious negotiations take place between the Government and the unions to resolve the ongoing dispute and avoid further disruption to NHS services.”