Responding to NHS England data on appointments being rescheduled during December's junior doctor strike action, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, said:
“It’s regrettable that at our mutually agreed deadline during talks, the Government’s offer on the table would have still resulted in a real-terms pay cut for doctors this year. This led to our committee unanimously voting for further strike action. It is a shame the Government could have avoided the unnecessary disruption to patients if they had presented a credible offer, especially if there was, as suggested by the Secretary of State, another offer for them to make.
“It didn’t need to be this way, and next week’s action can be avoided. The Health Secretary says she wants to ‘get this done’ and appeals to us to return to negotiations, yet we never walked away. It is her government that refuses to talk to us while strikes are scheduled. However this is an inconsistent approach as the same Government engaged in talks with barristers during their strike action. We are clear that we will talk at any time, right up to the 11th hour, and if talks result in a credible offer we can put to members, then further strikes can be averted. If the Government is serious about wanting to resolve this dispute, it must drop its obstructive precondition and return to the table. Our door is open.”
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.