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Health secretary fails to avert junior doctor strike action

Health secretary fails to avert junior doctor strike action

The health secretary failed to avert junior doctor strike action in a meeting today, telling the BMA he had ‘no authority’ or ‘green light’ to renegotiate pay.

Leaders of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee said they are ‘frustrated’ and ‘hugely disappointed’ by Steve Barclay’s admission, which came during a meeting today where they had hoped an offer on the pay deal would be on the table.

Last week the union announced the 72-hour walkout, which will take place from 13 March, after more than 36,200 doctors voted in favour of strikes.

The BMA said that over the past 15 years, junior doctors have seen their pay erode by more than 26% with newly qualified doctors starting on £14 per hour and that restoring pay would mean increasing that £14 to just £19.

In a joint statement, Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, who co-chair the committee, said: ‘It is beyond belief that the person in Government appointed to look after our health service, and the staff in it, has no power to put any kind of deal on the table.

‘We went to today’s meeting with every intention of entering into negotiations with a health secretary who has known from day one of his tenure what was at stake – tens of thousands of junior doctors in England who are demoralised, exhausted, and vastly underpaid for the valuable work they do.

‘Instead, he wanted to go over those details once more but did not or could not offer any kind of deal, or even start negotiations.

‘Mr Barclay said that mandate lay with the Prime Minister and the chancellor, yet neither were at the meeting, so we are no further forwards.

‘Rishi Sunak urgently needs to either give his health secretary the mandate to negotiate a settlement with us or come to the negotiating table himself.

‘Actions speak louder than words and if the health secretary and Prime Minster genuinely want to bring an end to the dispute, it is within their gift to do so. Put a realistic, reasonable offer on the table and let serious negotiations begin and if the deal is acceptable, strike action can be averted.’

Hospital trusts and employers have been notified of the 72-hour strike, which GP trainees will be able to join from the picket line or close to the hospital they are currently working in.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Michael Mullineux 2 March, 2023 4:28 pm

What was the point of him attending the meeting then? To appeal to goodwill? That has long since disappeared with this shower.

Mr Marvellous 2 March, 2023 4:56 pm

Oh dear. What a waste of time.

No point speaking to the monkey, they need to speak to the organ grinder.

Michael Green 2 March, 2023 9:31 pm

No point speaking to the lot of them. They’ve all checked out anyway. Bring on the election

Dave Haddock 3 March, 2023 3:09 pm

The BMA was vociferous in demanding lockdown, more lockdown and yet more lockdown during Covid, effectively accusing those who questioned the policy of being complicit in mass-murder.
The inevitable consequences of lockdown is that the UK is now poorer, GDP remains below pre-lockdown levels, there is less money for pay rises and even without more expense we will bequeath our children a huge pile of debt.

Though perhaps pay rises could be funded by a small charge to use the service? But the BMA is also opposed to that.

Choices have consequences.

Slobber Dog 3 March, 2023 7:26 pm

Remember, the government misuses tax revenues on an industrial scale.

Anonymous 4 March, 2023 6:40 am

They bribed teachers in Scotland, they are trying to offer something similar to AFC in England. Next week at the very last minute, on Friday the 10th they will ask bma to sit down for a talk and the strikes will be cancelled. Usual tactics.