Now the junior doctors will strike!

Now the junior doctors will strike! ‘Militant’ BMA union joins never-ending wave of winter walk-outs with demand of an inflation-busting 26 PER CENT pay rise

Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

Announcing the results of the ballot today the British Medical Association (BMA) said of the 37,000 who voted 98 per cent were in favour of taking to the picket lines over pay. 

It means the BMA’s threat of a threat of three-day strike by junior medics could now will become reality, with union officials saying the action will be held in March

In a joint statement BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said the vote showed the anger among junior medics over pay.

‘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 results of the British Medical Association’s strike ballot for junior doctors is in with 98 per cent voting to strike

‘The Government has only itself to blame, standing by in silent indifference as our members are forced to take this difficult decision.’

What happened the last time junior doctors went on strike? 

Junior doctors planning to strike later this year echoes that of similar industrial action back in 2016.

A contract dispute between junior medics and then health secretary Jeremy Hunt led to doctors withdrawing labour three times.

The dispute was regarding plans to scarp overtime rates for junior doctors on every day except Sunday and instead increasing pay.

But many junior doctors felt the change would result in a net loss.

The dispute resulted in a general strike on January 12, the first such industrial action in 40 years. 

This was then repeated on February 10 and March 9-10.

On April 26-27 junior doctors withdrew from providing both routine and emergency care, the first time this had ever happened. 

In total the strikes led to the cancellation of 100,000  patient appointments. 

The dispute only formally ended in 2019 when junior doctors were offered an 8.2 per cent pay rise over four years.  

The BMA is campaigning for junior medics to get a 26 per cent pay rise they claim is needed to restore years of below inflation salaries.  

More than 47,600 junior doctors in England were eligible to vote in the BMA’s ballot, with 37,000 voting.

The result, a 77 per cent turnout,  is the largest ever for a ballot of doctors by the BMA and a record number for junior doctors voting for strike action.

Taking aim at Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay Dr Laurenson and Dr Trivedi added junior medics had been left little option but to stage a walkout.  

‘We have had a real-terms pay cut of more than 26 per cent since 2008. This year we were offered an insulting 2 per cent pay, which means with inflation at over 10 per cent, we are working more than a month for free,’ they said, 

‘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.’

Responding to the news today Mr Barclay said: ‘We hugely value the work of junior doctors and it is deeply disappointing some union members have voted for strike action.’  

‘I’ve met with the BMA and other medical unions to discuss what is fair and affordable, as well as wider concerns around conditions and workload. I want to continue discussing how we can make the make the NHS a better place to work for all.’

He added that junior medics’ pay had increased by a cumulative 8.2 per cent since 2019/20 and the Government had also approved higher salaries for experienced staff as well boosted the pay rates on night shifts. 

The BMA’s has already warned March’s three-day walkout will include emergency departments. 

A junior doctor refers to anyone below the rank of consultant.

The increasingly militant union said ‘tired and angry’ medics have joined in their droves to vote for strike action, with nearly 7,000 extra signed up in recent months.

And BMA’s most senior doctor yesterday accused the Prime Minister of being ‘thoughtless and bellicose’ in his refusal to find a workable agreement with NHS staff over pay and conditions.

Speaking at a young doctors’ conference in Bristol, Professor Philip Banfield, the BMA’s chair of council, said Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay are ‘standing on the precipice of an historic mistake’. 

The BMA’s announcement means a fresh wave of strike action will batter the NHS, with nurses, ambulance staff and physiotherapists also holding industrial action. 

Strikes by multiple staff groups have already seen the cancellation of 140,000 NHS ops and appointments following more than a dozen walkouts this winter. 

The news comes  11,000 ambulance workers returned to the picket lines in England and Wales today in the latest blow to patients. 

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