Junior doctors in England to begin new strike as Government fails to present new pay offer ​

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Friday 23 February 2024

As junior doctors in England prepare for a further round of strike action from tomorrow, they are calling once again calling on the Health Secretary to meet them round the negotiating table and put forward an offer good enough to avoid further strike action.   

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

 “The Government could have stopped these strikes by simply making a credible pay offer for junior doctors in England to begin reversing the pay cuts they have inflicted upon us for more than a decade. The same Government could have even accepted our offer to delay this round of strike action to give more space for talks – all we asked for in return was a short extension of our mandate to strike. The fact that ministers have chosen strike action over what could have been the end of this year’s pay dispute is disappointing to say the least.  

 “Junior doctors are trained to deliver high quality care, but that care is impossible to give when they are exhausted, demoralised, and working in an NHS that is chronically underfunded and understaffed. More and more colleagues who have simply had enough with the already 26% pay cut, are leaving the NHS for better-paying jobs in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere that value their workforce. All doctors are looking for is to reverse pay cuts and be paid the same, in real terms, as in 2008 - which looks like around £21 per hour instead of the current £15 per hour. This is the way to a better-staffed, more effective health service, and all the Government has to do to call off these strikes is come forward with a credible way of getting there.   

 “This is the last action of our current mandate, but with the strength of determination shown by junior doctors across the country we fully expect to see that mandate renewed into the autumn. There is no point in the Government delaying any further. The time to end this dispute is now.”   

 

Meanwhile, with recent polling by Savanta showing public support continues to be strong for the junior doctor industrial action, with the majority of people (53%) backing the strikes, almost double the 28% who said they are opposed, Professor Phil Banfield, BMA council chair, said: 

 “This survey shows that junior doctors continue to be supported by the public – their patients in many cases – who quite clearly see how unjust it is for junior doctors to have had their pay fall in real-terms year on year, while their workload spirals upwards. Crucially almost half of those asked – the largest proportion by a long way – blame the UK Government for this dispute going on for this long, and they would be right. It’s time for ministers to put patients before politics and put an end to the strikes by paying junior doctors what they are worth for the skills and expertise they have trained for so long to acquire, and which this country so desperately needs to keep.” 

ENDS 

 

Notes to editors

 

  • The strike dates in England are from 7am, 24th February to 11:59pm, 28th February.  
  • Junior doctors in England are currently balloting members for a mandate for a further 6 months of strike action from the springtime. 

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.