Junior doctors to stage more strikes after government pay talks break down

The new Health Secretary has said the strikes would 'risk patient safety' - ITV News Health Correspondent Martin Stew has this report

Junior doctors in England have announced further strike dates for December and January after talks between the government and the British Medical Association broke down, the union has said.

The BMA said junior doctors would strike from 7am on December 20 to 7am on December 23 and from 7am on January 3 to 7am on January 9.

“We have been clear from the outset of these talks that we needed to move at pace and if we did not have a credible offer, we would be forced to call strikes," BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said.

They added that after five-week-long discussions with the government, there was no "credible offer" made on pay.

The deal on the table was allegedly an additional 3% spread, which Dr Laurenson and Dr Trivedi said "would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year."

The figures are on top of the average 9% already awarded.

"It is clear the government is still not prepared to address the real-terms pay cut doctors have experienced since 2008.

"It is a great shame that even though the approach was more constructive, there was not enough on offer to shape a credible deal, which we hoped would end the dispute.

"Without enough progress by the deadline, we have no choice but to take action that demonstrates doctors are as determined as ever in reversing their pay cuts.“

ITV News Health Correspondent Martin Stew on the likely impact on patients of the slated junior doctors' strike

The pair said strikes could still avoided when the government is prepared to offer a solution that appeases the union.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said that the government would "immediately look to come back to the table" if the junior doctors' strikes were called off.

"It is disappointing that despite significant progress the BMA junior doctors committee have walked away from negotiations and declared new strikes, which will result in more disruption for patients and extra pressure on NHS services and staff as we enter a busy winter period, risking patient safety," she said in a statement.

"I have been clear that I respect the work of doctors in training and want to work with them to settle this dispute.

"We have agreed a fair and reasonable offer with the BMA's consultants committee which is being put to members for vote following constructive talks.

"If the junior doctors committee call off their strikes, we will immediately look to come back to the table to continue negotiations."

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