Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in their fight for pay restoration. Almost every junior doctor who cast a vote, voted in favour of taking strike action and turnout was in excess of 77%.
More than 47,600 junior doctors in England were eligible to vote in the BMA’s ballot. Almost 37,000 votes were cast and 98% of those voted in favour of strike action, meaning this was the largest ever turnout for a ballot of doctors by the BMA and a record number of junior doctors voting for strike action.
With no meaningful engagement from the UK Government on pay, despite several letters and the BMA’s meeting with the Health Secretary in January, junior doctors in England will now prepare for a 72-hour walkout next month.
BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:
“This vote shows, without a shadow of a doubt, the strength of feeling among most of England’s junior doctors. We are frustrated, in despair and angry and we have voted in our thousands to say, ‘in the name of our profession, our patients, and our NHS, doctors won’t take it anymore.’
“The Government has only itself to blame, standing by in silent indifference as our members are forced to take this difficult decision.
“We have had a real-terms pay cut of more than 26 % since 2008. This year we were offered an insulting 2% pay, which means with inflation at over 10%, we are working more than a month for free.
“Added to that, ever-worsening conditions mean more doctors are being lured away from the NHS to seek better paid medical careers and quality of life elsewhere.
“There is no doubt that this is a crisis, but it is of the Government’s making – so far refusing to have any meaningful discussions with us about pay. The road to recovery must start with Ministers listening to us and paying us what we’re worth.”
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.
- Ballot results breakdown:
- 47,692 junior doctors were entitled to vote in the ballot;
- 36,955 votes were cast, 77.49% of those entitled to vote;
- 36,218 answered “Yes” to the question: “Are you prepared to take part in strike action?”
- 716 answered “No” to the question: “Are you prepared to take part in strike action?”
- 21 spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned.
- The ballot took place for six weeks between Monday 9 January and Monday 20 February 2023.