Young doctors will embark on a devastating five-day strike next month in what their union calls the largest industrial action of its kind in NHS history.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that the strike will take place in England from 07:00 on Thursday 13 July to 07:00 on Tuesday 18 July.
It represents a serious and ongoing escalation of the bitter dispute between the union and ministers over health care pay.
Union officials proudly announced that the action would be ‘the longest strike by doctors in NHS history’.
The newly announced strike also comes just a week after BMA medics once again took to the picket lines.
The British Medical Association has announced they will be holding a record-breaking five-day strike next month (pictured demonstrating medics in London during last week’s strike action)
More than half a million NHS appointments in England have been canceled since December due to healthcare strikes, official figures show
BMA junior physician committee co-chairs Dr. Robert Lawrence and Dr. Vivek Trivedi 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 lapse 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 walk across 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.”
They added that it had been a week since their previous strike action with no action from ministers.
This, they said, had left them little choice but to announce further NHS strikes.
“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 ‘, they said.
“Is there a better indication of how committed they are to ending this dispute?”
Union leaders said that while their July strike would be one for the ‘history books’, ministers still had a chance to avoid further disruption to patients.
“We are announcing the longest strike by doctors in the history of the NHS – but this is not a record for the history books,” they said.
“Even now, the government can avert our action by coming to the table with a credible offer for wage recovery.”
The BMA also stressed that other countries were taking advantage of the British government’s devaluation of its medics.
They pointed to the fact that last week the South Australian government sent mobile billboards to the BMA picket lines encouraging them to apply for jobs Down Under and targeting disenfranchised medics on social media.
Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Trivedi added: ‘The recovery in wages 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 continue to do. be proud of.’
The South Australian Government ad campaign visiting British Medical Association picket lines at St George’s Hospital in London yesterday
The adverts feature 50/50 images of medics balancing work with stunning photos of the Australian lifestyle that read ‘discover work-life balance at its best’ and financial assistance to relocate
Tens of thousands of surgeries and appointments have been canceled this year due to NHS strikes.
The new strike would be the longest in the current dispute, eclipsing a four-day strike by medics in April.
That action led to an estimated 200,000 NHS surgeries and procedures being cancelled, adding to a growing list of 7 million Britons awaiting elective health care.
Since December, more than 500,000 similar appointments have already been lost to wider NHS industrial action.
Young doctors are taking to the picket lines to chase a 35 per cent pay rise, which they say is necessary to deal with years of below-inflation wage increases and prevent NHS medics from bleeding to places like Australia.
Despite the protracted dispute, there is little sign of an impending compromise: the latest BMA survey found nearly half (53 per cent) of the nearly 2,000 participants suggested they were thinking of leaving the NHS as a result of the government’s response on trade union actions.
Clearly, BMA negotiators have proposed a multi-year settlement that would have given doctors below the rank of consultant a 49 percent boost between 2021 and 2024 in the latest failed round of negotiations with the government.
The Ministry of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment on the latest announcement of a strike.
Last week, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said it was in his best interest for the dispute to be resolved and he stands ready for “further discussions” with young doctors.