Doctors in training have voted to embark on the longest strike in NHS history next month.
There will be a five-day strike between Thursday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 18, the longest period of industrial action in the health service’s history, according to the British Medical Association.
The strike by junior doctors could come days before the advisers’ strike on July 20 and 21 if their vote, which closes at the end of this month, is successful and there is no “credible wage offer” from the government.
During the proposed strikes for July, consultants will provide “Christmas Day coverage”, meaning they will continue to provide all emergency services, but many routine services will be suspended.
More than 645,000 appointments and surgeries have been affected in England as a result of recent NHS strikes.
The BMA is calling for a 35 percent pay increase for junior doctors to offset what it says is 15 years of real pay cuts.
Dr. Robert Lawrence and Dr. Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: “The NHS is one of this country’s proudest achievements and it is a shame that we have a government seemingly content to let it fall to the point of collapse with decades of real pay cuts for doctors chasing them away.
“With the 75th anniversary of the NHS just days away, the neglect of the workforce has left us with 7.4 million people on waiting lists for operations and procedures, 8,500 unfilled doctor’s posts in hospitals and doctors barely able to get on the road without a foreign government enticing them to leave an NHS where they are paid £14 an hour for a country that will pay them properly.
“It has been almost a week since the last round of strikes ended, but not once have we heard from Rishi Sunak or Steve Barclay about reopening negotiations since their breakdown of our talks and canceling all scheduled meetings a month ago .
“What better indication of how committed they are to ending this dispute can we have? As their refusal to even discuss wage recovery leads to continued disruption to healthcare, more than four-fifths of junior doctors say they find their patients supportive – they understand the value of a fully staffed and equipped NHS.
“We are announcing the longest strike by doctors in the history of the NHS, but this is not a record for the history books. Even now, the government can avert our action by coming to the table with a credible wage recovery offer.
“The wage recovery could halt the flood of Australian job vacancies in doctors’ social media feeds – and lead to doctors being paid fairly for 75 years in the future, in a rebuilt workforce and NHS that this country can be proud of continue to be.”