Junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly to join Britain’s growing wave of strikes.
Ninety-eight per cent of 37,000 BMA members who voted backed their first action since 2016. They now plan a 72-hour walkout next month in their fight for a 26 per cent pay rise. The impact could see thousands of NHS ops cancelled as senior doctors step in. The BMA said it had called for the government to act on pay in ‘several letters’ and a meeting with health secretary Steve Barclay in January.
‘This vote shows, without a shadow of a doubt, the strength of feeling among most of England’s junior doctors,’ it said of the record 77 per cent turnout.
‘We are frustrated, in despair and angry and we have voted in our thousands to say, “In the name of our profession, our patients, and our NHS, doctors won’t take it anymore”.
‘The government has only itself to blame, standing by in silent indifference as our members are forced to take this difficult decision.’ It wants a rise to match what it calls a real-terms 26 per cent pay cut since 2008. It called this year’s two per cent offer amid ten per cent inflation ‘insulting’.
MORE : When is the junior doctors strike and why are they walking out?
Mr Barclay said the vote was ‘deeply disappointing’ with pay up 8.2 per cent since 2019, a new band for the most experienced, and higher night shift pay.
‘I’ve met with the BMA and medical unions to discuss what is fair and affordable, as well as concerns around conditions and workload,’ he added.
Junior doctors start on £29,384 but with extra payments can earn £40,697. By the end of training, pay is between £58,398 and £80,881.
The result came as ambulance staff walked out yesterday in their lengthy pay and staffing dispute. Nurses strike for 48 hours in England next week.
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