09 July 2024

Junior doctors to enter talks with new Government

09 July 2024

Negotiations between junior doctors in England and the new Government are expected to start today with a view to end the long-running dispute over pay.

Medics from the British Medical Association (BMA) are to meet with Department of Health and Social Care officials to try and hammer out a deal to see an end to strikes which have been causing widespread disruption across the health service.

Officials from the union have previously said that they expect the conversation could be “tough”.

But the BMA’s junior doctors committee has said Labour comments about pay rises being a “journey and not an event” align with their pay restoration goals.

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

NHS England said 61,989 appointments, procedures and operations were postponed as a result of the walkout from June 27 to July 2.

The strike was the 11th 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.

Health and Social Care Secretary Wes 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.

Since December 2022 there have been strikes across a number of staff groups working in the NHS including nurses, other doctor groups, physiotherapists and paramedics, among other staff.

Collectively this industrial action has led to nearly 1.5 million appointments, procedures and operations postponed, at an estimated cost to the NHS of more than £3 billion.

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