Junior doctors to stage fresh strike in dispute over pay
Junior doctors in England will stage a 72-hour strike next month in their long-running dispute over pay.
Members of the BMA will walk out from 7am on June 14 after the Government failed to make a “credible offer” on pay, it was announced.
Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said: “Since April’s strikes we have had three weeks of negotiations with the Government, seeking a deal that fully restores pay for junior doctors after the more than 26% drop they have suffered over the last 15 years.
“We entered these talks in good faith, hoping that after months of refusal by ministers to meet with us, we would finally see a real offer on the table that would avoid the need for more industrial action and stop the haemorrhaging of junior doctors from the NHS.
“In that time we have received an offer which is in no way credible or even reasonable for where we are in the negotiating process.
“We made clear from the very start that talks required a recognition of the scale of our pay erosion.
“No such recognition has been forthcoming.
“We made proposals showing our willingness to be creative and work with the Government on how the reversal of our pay erosion could be achieved.
“In the end, however, the Government would simply not accept the fundamental reality of the pay cuts junior doctors have faced.
“This was made clear when they finally made their pay offer of 5%.
“Not only is that nowhere near addressing pay erosion over the last 15 years, it would not even have matched inflation this year.”
The BMA said, despite its strike announcement, it expected to meet Health Secretary Steve Barclay on Wednesday for talks.
A Government spokesperson said: “It is both surprising and deeply disappointing that the BMA Junior Doctors Committee has declared further strike action while constructive talks were ongoing. These will be hugely disruptive for patients and put pressure on other NHS staff.
“We made a fair and reasonable opening offer, and were in active discussions about both pay and non-pay issues.
“Unfortunately, it seems the BMA is unwilling to move meaningfully away from their unaffordable headline demands on pay.
“The Government has been clear that strikes must be paused while talks take place, so while the BMA has chosen to end our current discussions, we remain ready to continue them at any point if strikes are called off.”
Deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said: “It’s hugely disappointing that talks between the Government and the doctors’ unions have broken down again.
“We are now facing the deeply worrying prospect of another 72-hour walkout by junior doctors next month.
“As with previous strikes by junior doctors, this will lead to major disruption to patient care.
“We understand junior doctors feel they’ve been pushed to this point by factors including below-inflation pay uplifts and severe staffing shortages.
“Trust leaders will work flat out to ensure disruption is minimised on strike dates, but rapid resolution is needed at a national level to bring strike action to an end.
“With next month’s action by junior doctors now confirmed, their threats of more strikes over the summer and radiographers, nurses and consultants also balloting for industrial action, it’s vital serious talks take place between the Government and unions to resolve these ongoing disputes and avert further disruption to NHS services.”