Junior doctors in England will strike again – this time for four days – after the Government ‘failed to make any credible offer’ in new talks over pay.
Following discussions with between BMA leaders and health secretary Steve Barclay, the union has confirmed further industrial action will be taken by junior doctors in England.
A 96-hour walkout will take place for shifts starting between 06:59 on Tuesday 11 April and 06:59 on Saturday 15 April.
The BMA said that after Mr Barclay ‘failed to make any credible offer,’ BMA junior doctors’ leaders concluded that the Government was ‘not serious about resolving the dispute.’
Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctor committee, said: ‘It is with disappointment and great frustration that we must announce this new industrial action.
‘The Government has dragged its feet at every opportunity. It has not presented any credible offer and is refusing to accept that there is any case for pay restoration, describing our central ask as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unreasonable’.
‘Even yesterday they continued to add new unacceptable preconditions to talks instead of getting on and trying to find a resolution.’
It follows a first walk out by junior doctors 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.
The BMA had then agreed to meet with the health secretary to discuss a pay deal for junior doctors on the ‘same terms’ as nurses and ambulance workers.
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.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers said: ‘The prospect of a 96-hour strike by junior doctors will ring alarm bells for trust leaders up and down the country. It would immediately follow a four-day bank holiday weekend, meaning demand will have piled up before the strike even begins on 11 April. There will also be no exemptions.
‘This threatens the biggest disruption from NHS walkouts so far. There should be no doubt about the scale of the impact on patients, staff and the NHS. No one wants this.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘Further strikes will risk patient safety and cause further disruption.
‘The health and social care secretary met the BMA’s junior doctors committee yesterday in the hope of beginning constructive talks to resolve the current dispute.
‘The BMA placed a pre-condition on these talks of a 35% pay rise. That is unreasonable.
‘Our door remains open to constructive conversations, as we have had with other health unions, to find a realistic way forward which balances rewarding junior doctors for their hard work while being fair to the taxpayer.’
Meanwhile, during a webinar yesterday GPC officials updated GPs on potential options for strike action, which include full closures of practices for a day.