Fighting for funds: four-day Junior Doctor strike confirmed

Next month Junior Doctors are set to stage a four-day walkout from hospitals casting concerns amongst NHS bosses who fear up to 250,000 appointments could be cancelled.

The British Medical Association (BMA), a trade union representing Junior Doctors, have blamed ministers for the strike as they had not provided ‘any credible offer’ in response to its claim of a 35% pay rise for trainee doctors in England.

Strikes are due to begin just after the Easter bank holiday weekend and run from 6.59am on 11th April until the same time on 15th April – they will affect every NHS hospital in England.

In response to this, hospital officials have said the unprecedented duration of the strike would imperil patients’ safety and urged Junior Doctors to ‘reflect’ on their decision.

However, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trevedi, Co-Chairs of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee said: ‘The government has dragged its feet at every opportunity. It has not made any credible offer and is refusing to accept that there is any case for pay restoration, describing our central ask as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unaffordable’’.

The strike was announced after BMA leaders met Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, on Wednesday. Mr Barclay called the pay claim ‘unaffordable’.

Recently, Mr Barclay has also offered a new pay deal to other NHS staff, including nurses and paramedics, which involves a 5% pay rise in April and a one-off payment of at least £1,655. Health unions such as the Royal College of Nursing have presented the offer to their members and are awaiting a final decision.

Despite things looking positive for other health unions, the BMA has insisted only a 35% increase will make up for the 15 years of below-inflation rises.

Junior Doctors were also involved in a two-day strike that occurred last week which led to the cancellation of 175,000 treatments and appointments, with consultants brought in to provide cover in emergency care.

However, with the new strike confirmed for a longer period and happening immediately after the Easter bank holiday weekend, NHS officials are even more concerned.

Saffron Cordery, from NHS Providers – the membership organisation for NHS Trusts in England – said the strike ‘threatens the biggest disruption from NHS walkouts so far.

She added: ‘There should be no doubt about the scale of impact on patients, staff and the NHS.’

Image: Photo by Parentingupstream


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