05 July 2024

Junior doctor talks to ‘start next week’ – Streeting

05 July 2024

Junior doctors in England will restart negotiations with the Government next week, the new Health and Social Care Secretary has announced.

Wes Streeting delivered on his promise to call junior doctors in England on “day one” of a Labour Government.

Health leaders have urged the government to resolve the long-running dispute as a “priority” after it emerged that tens of thousands of appointments were postponed as a result of the latest strike.

“I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA (British Medical Association) junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week,” Mr Streeting said in a statement.

“We promised during the campaign that we would begin negotiations as a matter of urgency, and that is what we are doing.”

Medics in training across the NHS downed their stethoscopes and went on strike for five full days from June 27.

NHS England said 61,989 appointments, procedures and operations were postponed as a result of the latest round of industrial action by junior doctors.

The latest walkout was the 11th strike by junior doctors in 20 months.

Junior doctors in England have said their pay has been cut by more than a quarter over the last 15 years and have called for a 35% increase.

Mr Streeting has said previously he would not meet the 35%, saying that if he gave in to the demand then “any trade union worth their salt” would come back the following year with the same request.

He has said there is “space for a discussion” on pay, as well as negotiations on how to improve working conditions for medics in training.

The wave of industrial action, which has hit the NHS since December 2022 and has seen strikes by nurses, other doctor groups, physiotherapists and paramedics, among other staff, has led to nearly 1.5 million appointments, procedures and operations postponed, at an estimated cost to the NHS of more than £3 billion.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said in a statement: “We were pleased to speak to the new Health Secretary Wes Streeting today, as he made good on his commitment made during the election campaign for JDC (the junior doctors’ committee) to be his first call and get the ball rolling on negotiating a solution to the junior doctors’ dispute.

“We expect talks to begin properly next week.

Health Secretary Wes Streeting has said that he plans to meet with junior doctors next week (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

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