Junior doctors and hospital consultants in England have announced they will be taking joint industrial action for the first time across four days in September and October.
Following a re-ballot from the BMA that closed earlier today, 98% of junior doctors voted in favour of further industrial action.
The doctors’ union then announced dates for September and October when both junior doctors and consultants will be walking out across four days, which will see ‘Christmas Day levels of staffing’ from both groups.
The BMA said that ‘against the backdrop of a hugely understaffed and under-resourced health service’, junior doctors and consultants have seen their pay ‘drop in real terms by over a third in the past 15 years’, while the Government continues to refuse to ‘even enter talks with either group to try to bring an end to the disputes’.
Last week, the union had announced a new consultants strike, as it was revealed ministers have refused to meet the doctor’s union since May.
Junior doctors have staged 19 days of strike action since March, while consultants have staged four days, and there are at least five more planned in the coming weeks, including four days of combined action with junior doctors.
Junior doctor committee co-chairs Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: ‘Today, junior doctors across England are sending a single message, loud and clear to the Government: we are not going anywhere.
‘We are prepared to continue with our industrial action, but we don’t have to – the Prime Minister has the power to halt any further action by making us a credible offer that we can put to our members. Refusing to negotiate with us and with our consultant colleagues is not the way ahead.’
BMA consultants committee chair Dr Vishal Sharma said: ‘Junior doctors and consultants walk the same wards, look after the same patients in an underfunded and poorly staffed NHS.
‘It is becoming ever clearer that this Government does not value us or our work and nor does it really value patient care.
‘If the Government was in any doubt about doctors’ shared determination to reverse the crisis the NHS is in, to help keep the staff we have and address their pay erosion, today will surely dispel it.
‘Never before have NHS consultants and junior doctors been forced to strike together for days on end, but that is where we have been brought by this Government.’
Earlier this year, the union issued guidance for GP trainees as it said it is ‘essential that this significant cohort demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst the profession by participating fully in this industrial action’.
The BMA had previously confirmed that GP trainees would not be barred from protesting during the junior doctor strikes, but would only be able to join a picket line at or close to their place of work.