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Junior doctors agree to meet with Government to discuss pay on ‘same terms’ as nurses

Junior doctors agree to meet with Government to discuss pay on ‘same terms’ as nurses

The BMA has agreed to meet with the health secretary to discuss a pay deal for junior doctors on the ‘same terms’ as nurses and ambulance workers, the Government has said.

Last week, Agenda for Change staff were offered a one-off payment for the current financial year 2022/23 worth between £1,655 and £3,789 and a 5% consolidated pay increase for 2023/24 to end strikes that have been taking place for the past three months.

The deal is still subject to votes among union members but several unions have recommended its acceptance.

Junior doctors walked out for 72 hours from Monday until Wednesday last week, after more than 36,000 BMA members voted in favour of strikes over the 26% real-terms cuts to their pay since 2008. 

And it has emerged that 175,000 appointments and procedures were cancelled as a result.

The data also shows the number of appointments and procedures rescheduled each day as a result of the strikes, with 54,449 outpatients appointments cancelled on 14 March only.  

NHS England data published on Friday (17 March) shows that at least 27,936 members of staff were absent from work on each day of the strikes as a result of industrial action.

The BMA’s junior doctor leaders will meet with health secretary Steve Barclay later this week.

Mr Barclay had previously failed to avert strike action telling the BMA he had ‘no authority’ or ‘green light’ to renegotiate junior doctors’ pay.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that Mr Barclay had written to the BMA on 10 March inviting the union to enter formal talks on the same terms as with Agenda for Change unions and he wrote to them again on 16 March to reiterate the offer.

Responding to the NHS England figures, the co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson said: ‘Every day junior doctors despair as they see operations cancelled and treatment postponed for the millions on the waiting lists because our health services are in crisis.

‘But rescheduling appointments as a result of the strike action could have been avoided if the Health Secretary had come to the table and negotiated an agreed settlement with us before any strike action was taken.

‘The NHS had more than two months’ notice that we would strike for 72 hours if the ballot was successful.

‘The Government has been in no doubt about our campaign for full pay restoration for over six months and this has been borne out by the number of junior doctors in England  who have taken part in the industrial action.

‘Junior doctors are keen to see their pay restored and to avoid further disruption to patient care, so if the health secretary is as committed to finding a settlement as he claims to be, it is within his gift to offer a deal so junior doctors can earn what they are worth, avoid further strike action and give patients the care they deserve.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We deeply regret that over 175,000 appointments and procedures were cancelled this week, despite our offer to start formal talks on the condition strikes were paused.

‘However we are pleased the BMA has now accepted our offer to enter talks based on the same terms as with the Agenda for Change unions – which concluded positively this week.

‘We want to find a fair settlement which recognises the crucial role of junior doctors and the wider economic pressures facing the UK, as we have done with other unions.’



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Bonglim Bong 20 March, 2023 11:37 am

I’m pretty sure the nurses are going to vote against the negotiated deal.

And if the same deal was offered to junior doctors it would be voted down by probably more than the 95+% who voted for strike action in the first place.

On he same terms, doesnt’ have to mean the same deal. I suspect the junior doctors would agree to a one off payment of 25% and a pay increase of 30% for 23/24. But they have stoked the fires for too long. Junior doctors have seen the impact of the last strike action (which was huge) and are not going to settle for a less significant pay cut.

Morteza Mirab 20 March, 2023 1:07 pm

Is there a source for this announcement? The BMA had specifically said they would not agree to this.

Sam Macphie 20 March, 2023 3:59 pm

An increase in the Tax-Free Personal Allowance is something needed for everyone’s sake, including all doctors and NHS workers: unfortunately this tax-free level is frozen for years unless Jeremy ‘Hunt For Money’ takes some action to increase the level so more people will get more money. Also, remember State Pensioners got a mere 3% increase on their miniscule State Pensions with no huge one-off payments of 25%.

Turn out The Lights 21 March, 2023 2:37 pm

What about overtime pay and unsocial hours pay as per agenda for change.The Juniors dont get this unlike the other unions.The goodwill well is dry.