Junior doctors in England plan to strike for a further nine days in December and January after rejecting the government’s latest pay offer.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said the proposal was worth an extra 3% on average this year across all doctors’ grades. It’s on top of the 8.8% pay increase already implemented earlier this year.
Five weeks of talks between the BMA and the Department of Health and Social Care took place, but they were unable to reach an agreement on pay.
The BMA’s junior doctors will strike from 7:00am on 20 December to 7:00am on 23 December, and from 7:00am on 3 January to 7:00am on 9 January 2024.
Junior doctor members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) will join the strike in December and, assuming a positive vote in their current re-ballot, they will also walk out on the same days in January.
The walkout in the new year will be the longest of the dispute so far.
Junior doctors strike
BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: “We were offered an additional 3%, unevenly spread across doctors’ grades, which would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year.
“It is clear the government is still not prepared to address the real-terms pay cut doctors have experienced since 2008.
“It is a great shame that even though the approach was more constructive, there was not enough on offer to shape a credible deal, which we hoped would end the dispute. Without enough progress by the deadline, we have no choice but to take action that demonstrates doctors are as determined as ever in reversing their pay cuts.
“However, we can still avoid the need for these strikes. We will be ready and willing any time the government wants to talk. If a credible offer can be presented the day before, or even during any action, these strikes can be cancelled.”
Health secretary Victoria Atkins said it was “disappointing” that junior doctor leaders had walked away from negotiations.
“The new strikes will result in more disruption for patients and extra pressure on NHS services and staff as we enter a busy winter period, risking patient safety,” she said.
The BMA’s announcement comes after the union and government agreed a pay deal for consultants, which is being put to the union’s members.