Responding to a NHS Confederation statement on the cost of cover for industrial action, BMA council chair Professor Phil Banfield said:
“Striking doctors are not to blame for the current financial crisis the NHS finds itself in – this has been many years in the making. The costs of strikes could have been avoided from the offset if the Government had agreed a deal that addressed the real term pay cuts doctors have experienced.
“The NHS has been chronically underfunded for over a decade and this is by no means the first winter crisis we have faced. The BMA has consistently called for greater, sustained, investment so that the NHS can provide a safe service, which includes having enough beds and a fully-fledged workforce to care for patients. The reality is that demand for services is much higher than current funding levels can support.
“As doctors, we have been dealing with the fall out and the ever-rising waiting lists which were already unmanageable before the pandemic. GPs remain overwhelmed and under-resourced as they continue to bear the brunt of the NHS backlog.
“This is not about short-term solutions, but about long-term investment. Credible pay offers to bring about an end to disputes with doctors will help to ensure a more sustainable medical workforce. It is crucial that the NHS has enough funding this winter and beyond so that instead of facing an ‘impossible choice’ about what care it can deliver, NHS leaders can feel confident about delivering the PM’s promise to the people about the future of our health service.”
Notes to editors
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.