Junior doctors and consultants to go on first ever joint-strike

Junior doctors in England have joined with consultants to stage a joint walkout - the first of its kind in NHS history, ITV News' Aisha Zahid reports

Junior doctors and consultants in England are taking joint strike action for the first time, the British Medical Association (BMA) has announced.

The union said the walkout will take place due to being "hugely understaffed and under-resources", while calling for the government to return to the negotiating table.

Junior doctors have already staged 19 days of strike action since March, while consultants have downed tools for four days.

The BMA says consultants will strike in the long-running row over pay on September 19 and 20.

Junior doctors will also be walking out on September 20, as well as September 21 and 22.

Both consultants and junior doctors will strike again on October 2, 3 and 4.

Consultants and junior doctors are striking over pay and working conditions. Credit: PA

Staff will work on a “Christmas Day cover” basis for both spells of industrial action, meaning emergency care will continue to be provided.

It comes after junior doctors voted in favour to continuing strike action, with the BMA’s mandate on industrial action renewed for another six months.

Responding, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “This result is extremely disappointing and I know it will weigh heavily on the minds of their NHS colleagues and patients – both of whom are shouldering the brunt of the BMA’s relentless and now co-ordinated strike action." “Nearly 900,000 appointments have been cancelled due to strike action and I fear the BMA’s hard-line stance and threat of indefinite action means this number will only keep rising. “Doctors who started their hospital training this year will receive a 10.3% pay increase, with the average junior doctor set to get 8.8%. “My door is always open to discuss how we can work together with NHS staff to improve their working lives, but this pay award is final so I urge the BMA to call an end to this callous and calculated disruption.”

The BMA has now told Prime Minister Rishi Sunak he has “nowhere to hide”.

Vivek Trivedi and Robert Laurenson of the BMA's junior doctors' committee. Credit: PA

Junior doctor committee co-chairmen Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: “Today, junior doctors across England are sending a single message, loud and clear to the government: we are not going anywhere.

“We are prepared to continue with our industrial action, but we don’t have to – the prime minister has the power to halt any further action by making us a credible offer that we can put to our members. Refusing to negotiate with us and with our consultant colleagues is not the way ahead.

“Rishi Sunak now has nowhere to hide. There can be no more delaying, no more wasting time with impositions of pay deals, no more declarations that strikes must end before even stepping in the room with us.

“If he does not come to the table with a credible offer on pay, he will face another six months of strike action. And another six months after, and after that, if he continues to ignore us. He knows the stakes, he knows our ask and now he knows our resolve.”

In July, the government said junior doctors would get pay rises of 6%, along with an additional consolidated £1,250 increase, and hospital consultants will also receive 6%.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said there will be “no more negotiations on pay”.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the latest consultants strike – which took place on August 24-26 – impacted 45,827 inpatient and outpatient hospital appointments in England.

A further 1,302 cancellations in mental health, learning disability and community settings were also recorded, though this is likely to include a small amount of double-counting, NHS England said.

Industrial action in the NHS has been ongoing since December 2022, with the number of inpatient and outpatient appointments cancelled now standing at 885,154.

If the community and mental health figures are included, the total rises to more than 940,000 – though this will not reflect the overall number of actual cancellations, due to some duplication of data.

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