Junior doctors have announced a strike from 7am on December 20 to 7am on December 23, and from 7am on January 3 until 7am on January 9.
This comes after a new pay offer was rejected after talking for 5 weeks with the government. According to the BMA union, the proposal was for an extra 3% on top of an 8.8% rise. The BMA are requesting a 35% pay rise to make up for below inflation rises.
As well as looking towards full pay restoration, the doctors hope to agree with the government to prevent future declines in line with the cost of living and inflation. Another aim is to reform the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body process so that fair pay increases are endorsed to help the retention of junior doctors.
CNN reported in April 2023 that the hourly wage for many junior doctors in the NHS falls below that of fast-food workers and baristas.
The BMA union tweeted that the hourly wage for junior doctors can be as low as £14.09 an hour, to perform lifesaving procedures. For junior doctors with seven years of experience, it would increase to £24.46 an hour.
According to the NHS, the previous industrial action undertaken by consultants and junior doctors in September led to the disruption of over 120,000 hospital appointments and around 8,000-26,000 staff off work per day.
This strike will be the longest in the NHS’s history.
The period of strikes comes when the NHS will be under additional seasonal pressure due to the Christmas period.
The BMA said that it will ensure emergency services are not heavily affected, as elective, and routine care will bear the brunt of the strikes.
The resounding response to the BMA junior doctors’ announcement was support. One twitter user said the junior doctors had “done the right thing” and “should not be bullied into accepting pathetic deals.”
Another said: “You have my continuing support. Shame on the government for putting you and the public in this position.”
One user commended junior doctors saying: “Well done. Go and get the pay you thoroughly deserve.”
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