Thousands of junior doctors start voting today on strike action | Politics News

Thousands of young doctors will begin voting on Monday on whether to strike for pay amid the latest outbreak of industrial unrest.

Around 45,000 British Medical Association (BMA) members in the UK are being voted on, with the outcome set for the end of February.

If they hit the 50% ‘yes’ threshold, junior doctors – any doctor below the consultant level – will begin 72 hours of “full walking” in March.

They will not deliver urgently NHS Care during the strike and trusts will need urgent insurance arrangements to ensure patient safety, the BMA said.

The union has called on the government to meet with doctors to negotiate a solution to avoid a strike – it will be the second time junior doctors have acted, after 2016, when Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt was Health Secretary. economic.

It said it had not been invited to Monday’s meeting of health union leaders with the Health Secretary Steve Barclay.

Young doctors are calling for higher pay after they did not get a pay raise by the NHS this year as their contract follows a multi-year pay agreement, agreed in 2019 and ending in March, help them grow 2% for 2022/2023 .

The BMA says young doctors in the UK have experienced a real pay cut over the past 15 years, equivalent to a 26.1 per cent drop since 2008/9.

And the union says the risk to patients posed by low wages means they have no choice but to vote for junior doctors on strike action.

Read more: Who is on strike and when this month?

Members of the RCN pictured on the fence outside St Thomas' Hospital, central London, on December 20
RCN nurses will go on strike for the second time this month, after going on strike last month

The BMA has called on Mr Barclay to sit down with doctors to negotiate to avoid industrial action.

Both Rishi Sunak and Mr Barclay said their doors were always open for unions to talk to them.

But the BMA said Mr Barclay was “the first health minister in more than 50 years to continue to ignore any invitation” to meet with doctors.

Read more: Rishi Sunak says public sector wage hikes will boost inflation – economists say they won’t

Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA grassroots physician committee, said: “When we are faced with such uncompromising silence and no settlement agreement, there is no settlement agreement. on the table, we have no choice but to act.

“Young doctors aren’t worth a quarter less than they were 15 years ago, and they don’t deserve to be so underrated by their government.

“Erosted pay, burnout and despair are forcing junior doctors to leave the NHS, pushing waiting lists higher as patients suffer needlessly.

“The government’s refusal to address 15 years of wage erosion has left young doctors with no choice but to vote for industrial action.

“If the government doesn’t fight for our health service, we will.”

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The vote will open ahead of new ambulance workers’ strikes this week and the end of January, and nurses’ strikes next week.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Secretary for Health and Social Care has made it clear that supporting and sustaining the NHS workforce is one of his key priorities. and that includes our hardworking young doctors.

“Our multi-year pay agreement with the British Medical Association is increasing salaries for young doctors by a total of 8.2% by March 2023.

“We have also invested an additional £90 million to better pay the most experienced young doctors, increase allowances for those who work most often on weekends and increase wages for night shifts.

“There are record numbers of staff working in the NHS and we are committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce strategy next year.”


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