Junior doctors in England begin new round of strikes as Government fails to improve pay offer

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK England
Published: Wednesday 20 December 2023

As thousands of junior doctors in England begin 3 days of strike action on Wednesday morning, the junior doctors committee (JDC) once again called on the Health Secretary to make a credible offer on pay which could bring an end to the strikes.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:

“It is extremely disappointing to be in this position. We had hoped that after a much-improved tone and approach from the new Health Secretary, Ms Atkins, we were close to a solution to this dispute. We were encouraged by her insistence last week that even after our mutually agreed deadline had passed and we were forced to call new strikes, we had still not heard her ‘final offer’.

“We have spent the last two weeks awaiting this final offer in the hope it would be the long-awaited credible offer we could put to our members. Unfortunately, we are still yet to hear it.

“It is now for the Health Secretary to show true leadership and leave behind the dogma that has been holding talks back – she needs to be willing to talk to us regardless of whether strikes are scheduled. If Ms Atkins comes to us any time over the Christmas and New Year period, we will be there willing to talk. After so many missed opportunities in 2023 to settle the dispute, at a cost of £2 billion to the NHS, surely now is the moment to conclude that everyone’s time would be saved by cutting out unnecessary posturing. Patients in need of care deserve nothing less.”

Prof Philip Banfield, BMA chair of council, said:
“Every winter, doctors raise the alarm about the terrible effects of the NHS staffing crisis, only to be met with indifference by Whitehall. Doctors don’t want to strike; we would much rather be caring for patients than standing on picket lines.

“But we have to be honest – a health service in which pay declines in real terms every year is not a sustainable – or healthy - health service. If the Government wants patients get the care they need and reduce the huge waiting lists, it has to invest in the expertise required to deliver this. The deadlines were known, and there is a deal to be done: now is the time to do it.

“This is the last strike action of 2023, which will have seen 28 days of action by junior doctors. The Government is entirely capable of making the total for 2024 zero days - but it needs to make a serious and credible offer now that we can put to members.”

Ends

The strikes dates in England are from 7am on the 20th December to 7am on the 23rd December 2023. In 2024, more are currently planned from 7am on the 3rd January to 7am on the 9th January 2024.

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.

 

Notes to editors

The strikes dates in England are from 7am on the 20th December to 7am on the 23rd December 2023. In 2024, more are currently planned from 7am on the 3rd January to 7am on the 9th January 2024.

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.