Junior doctors to stage four-day walk out as strikes escalate

Junior doctors in England will strike for four days in a row next month over pay, as they accused the government of refusing to make an offer.

Doctors will walk out next month from 11 to 14 April and in a message to members, the British Medical Association said:“We are holding a 96-hour walk out of all junior doctors in England in order to achieve a full pay restoration. This is our second round of action.

“This means you should not attend any shifts starting after 6.59am on 11 April. You can then attend any shifts starting from 7am on the 15 April.”

The action comes following a three day strike from 13 to 15 March, which was deemed by NHS leaders as the most “disruptive” action to date.

More than 180,000 operations and appointments, which included community and mental health care, were rescheduled last week due to the strikes.

Estimates reported by The Independent show the NHS may have been forced to pay up to £92 million in fees for consultants to cover junior doctor shifts.

The Independent also revealed NHS trusts warned life saving operations and urgent cancer care would be hit by the strikes last week.

The BMA is calling for the government to address its estimates that junior doctors have seen a 26 per cent real terms pay cut since 2008, based on RPI inflation rates.

To meet this the government would have to increase junior doctors pay by around 35 per cent, according to the BMA’s estimates.

The April strikes will come just after a bank-holiday weekend, during and after which the NHS often experiences more pressure due to lower staffing levels.

In a statement Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctor committee, said: “It is with disappointment and great frustration that we must announce this new industrial action. The Government has dragged its feet at every opportunity. It has not presented any credible offer and is refusing to accept that there is any case for pay restoration, describing our central ask as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unreasonable’. Even yesterday they continued to add new unacceptable preconditions to talks instead of getting on and trying to find a resolution.

“We therefore have no confidence that without further action these negotiations can be successful.”

Junior doctor’s latest action comes after nursing and ambulance worker unions agreed to a pay day last week which they will now take to members to vote for.

The deal offered by the government to these groups would see them get two one off payments for 2022-23, the equivalent of 2 per cent and an average of four per sent.

For 2023-24 the unions, which include the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, Unite and GMB, were offered a 5.2 per cent pay uplift.

Unite is the only union which is not proactively recommending its members vote for the deal.

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