Junior doctors will walk out for nearly five full days between 24 February and 28 February, the British Medical Association has announced.
The action will constitute the 10th round of strike action by junior doctors. The union said the government had “failed to meet the deadline to put an improved pay offer on the table”.
Members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) will also be striking – as has been the case on previous walkouts – alongside their BMA colleagues.
The BMA said: “In a show of goodwill, the BMA provided the health secretary [Victoria Atkins] with an option to delay further strike action.
“She was asked to extend the current strike mandate for a short period – and thus allow talks to continue with the aim to achieve a resolution for this year’s dispute. Disappointingly, she declined to agree to extending the mandate.”
The BMA said the strikes could still be called off “if a credible offer is made”.
HCSA junior doctors committee chair Dr Karim Salem said: “We have a new health secretary but not a new approach from the government. Junior doctors are sick of being treated like this.
“Once again we have been left to prop up the NHS amid chronic understaffing. It is only going to get worse unless we can recruit, retain and respect junior doctors. That means redressing the balance on pay.”
Junior doctors strike
Earlier this week, prime minister Rishi Sunak was accused of personally preventing a deal from taking place to end doctors’ strikes despite warnings from the health department and from NHS England over waiting lists: the latest figures revealed that 7.6 million health treatments were waiting to be carried out in England at the end of December, including thousands of cancer patients whose treatment is being put back.
Strikes in the NHS over the past year or so are estimated to have cost more than £1.5b. Walkouts by doctors, nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists have led to 1.3 million health interventions being rescheduled or cancelled.
Last month’s six-day strike was the ninth time junior doctors have stopped working in the past year and the longest to hit the health service since it was founded in 1948.
The BMA stated: “Junior doctors should not attend any shifts starting after 6.59am on Saturday 24 February, and continue to strike all shifts that start and end on Wednesday 28 February. However, shifts that start on Wednesday 28 February and end on Thursday 29 February should be completed in full, including starting the shift on Wednesday 28 February.”
BMA junior doctors are currently being balloted on extending the strike mandate, after the current one expires on 29 February. The vote closes on 20 March.