Junior doctors to strike over next six months after 98% vote to continue action

Credit: PA

Junior doctors in England will continue to strike over the next six months after 98% voted to continue to take industrial action, the British Medical Association announced.

A total of 33,869 of junior doctors voted in favour on a turnout of 62%, with the new mandate lasting until September 19.

The action will be part of the long-running dispute over pay.

Junior doctors in England walked out in a five-day protest in February, in the 10th strike since March 2023.

The BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said that a year's worth of strikes is too many strikes.

“The Government believed it could ignore, delay, and offer excuses long enough that we would simply give up. That attitude has now led to the NHS wasting £3 billion covering the strikes.

“This is more than double the cost of settling our whole claim, and as we see in the results of today’s ballot, delaying tactics will not work. Doctors are still determined to see their pay cuts reversed, and they are willing to keep striking another six months to achieve that."

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said the announcement marks "another worrying escalation" in the dispute between the government and junior doctors.

“The resounding backing for six more months of strike action as well as action short of strikes – which is just as hard to plan for and manage – will inevitably lead to more disruption to patient care," she said.

“The knock-on effects for trusts will be also be major worry for trust leaders and their teams who have spent countless hours preparing for strikes, including cancelling and rescheduling appointments while doing everything they can to protect patient safety."

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said it was "disappointing" that junior doctors had opted for more strikes.

"We have already given junior doctors a pay rise of up to 10.3% this financial year and made clear in previous negotiations that further investment was available.

“Overall NHS waiting lists have decreased for four months in a row, but further strikes will impede this progress, and more than 1.4 million appointments and operations have now been rescheduled since industrial action began.

“We again urge the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee to demonstrate they have reasonable expectations so we can come back to the negotiating table to find a fair deal that works for the NHS, doctors and patients.”

The latest news on strikes follows thousands of consultants and specialist doctors in Wales voting to strike over pay in April.

The British Medical Association (BMA) announced its members had overwhelmingly voted for 48-hour industrial action on Tuesday 16 April.

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