What is thought to be the longest single period of industrial action in the history of the health service will be undertaken by junior doctors in England next month. The five-day walkout will take place between 0700 on Thursday 13th July and 0700 on Tuesday 18th July.
The announcement comes as a BMA survey1 shows that junior doctors report being inundated with more opportunities to move abroad in the last four months than ever before2 with 53% saying they have received more job advertisements from recruiters to overseas jobs since strikes were announced. The Government of South Australia even paid for trucks to be sent to junior doctor picket lines carrying job adverts offering improved pay if those doctors emigrated.
The same survey showed junior doctors feeling that their patients are behind them in their fight for fair pay, with 82%3 reporting they had found their patients supportive of industrial action.
Co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:
“The NHS is one of this country’s proudest achievements and it is shameful that we have a Government seemingly content to let it decline to the point of collapse with decades of real-terms pay cuts to doctors driving them away. With the 75th birthday of the NHS just days away, neglect of its workforce has left us with 7.4m people on waiting lists for surgery and procedures, 8,500 unfilled doctors’ posts in hospitals, and doctors who can barely walk down the road without a foreign government tempting them to leave an NHS where they are paid £14 per hour for a country which will pay them properly.
“It has been almost a week since the last round of strikes finished but not once have we heard from Rishi Sunak or Steve Barclay in terms of reopening negotiations since their collapse of our talks and cancelling all scheduled meetings a month ago. What better indication of how committed they are to ending this dispute could we have? As their refusal to even discuss pay restoration leads to continued disruption to the health service, more than four-fifths of junior doctors report finding their patients supportive – they understand the value of a fully staffed and resourced NHS.
“We are announcing the longest single walkout by doctors in the NHS’s history – but this is not a record that needs to go into the history books. Even now the Government can avert our action by coming to the table with a credible offer on pay restoration. Restoring pay can stem the flow of Australian job adverts in doctors’ social media feeds – and lead to a future 75 years of doctors being paid fairly, in a rebuilt workforce and NHS that this country can continue to be proud of.”
Notes to editors
- Survey of 1935 junior doctors in England, 12th-30th May 2023
- “Have you received job advertisements from recruiters to overseas jobs within the last three months?” - 935 (52.6%) answered “Yes - and more than I did prior to that period”
- “Thinking about the following groups, how supportive of the junior doctors' industrial action do you feel they are?” for “Your patients” - 551 (31.1%) answered “very supportive” and 904 (51.1%) answered “to some extent”
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.