Junior doctor members of the British Medical Association in England will take part in another walkout from 7am on February 24 to midnight on February 28
Junior doctors will go on strike for five days later this month after negotiations collapsed, the British Medical Association (BMA) has announced.
Medics will walk out from 7am on February 24 to midnight on February 28. Talks over pay and working conditions broke down again after last month’s six-day walkout, which saw major disruption across the NHS in England.
The BMA said the Government had failed to meet the deadline for an improved pay offer – and had refused to allow it to extend its strike mandate, which expires at the end of the month. The union is re-balloting its members for a fresh mandate to allow strike action to remain on the table.
BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: “We have made every effort to work with the Government in finding a fair solution to this dispute whilst trying to avoid strike action. Even yesterday we were willing to delay further strike action in exchange for a short extension of our current strike mandate.
“Had the Health Secretary agreed to this, an act of good faith on both sides, talks could have gone ahead without more strikes. Sadly, the Government declined.”
They criticised the “glacial speed of progress” and accused Health Secretary Victoria Atkins of taking 20 days to agree to a meeting with a minister – despite promising during broadcast interviews that she would arrange one in 20 minutes.
In a statement, the Health Secretary said the action would put “enormous pressure on the NHS”. She said: “I want to find a reasonable solution that ends strike action. This action called by the BMA Junior Doctor Committee does not signal that they are ready to be reasonable.
“We already provided them with a pay increase of up to 10.3% and were prepared to go further. We urged them to put an offer to their members, but they refused. We are also open to further discussions on improving doctors’ and the wider workforce’s working lives.
“I want to focus on cutting waiting times for patients rather than industrial action. We have been making progress with waiting lists falling for three months in a row.
“Five days of action will put enormous pressure on the NHS and is not in the spirit of constructive dialogue. To make progress I ask the Junior Doctors Committee to cancel their action and come back to the table to find a way forward for patients and our NHS.”