Home Business News Junior doctors strikes ‘threaten public safety’ and Sunak blasts them as ‘wrong’

Junior doctors strikes ‘threaten public safety’ and Sunak blasts them as ‘wrong’

by LLB political Reporter
6th Dec 23 2:29 pm

The Prime Minister said in the House of Commons on Wednesday that the planned junior doctor strikes over the Christmas period are “wrong.”

On Tuesday the British Medical Association (BMA) said that the lengthy talks with government ministers over the ongoing pay dispute had broken down.

The BMA’s junior doctors committee has voted unanimously for industrial action over December and again in January 2024.

Junior doctors were offered a 3% pay rise on top of the average 8.8% which was given early this year in the summer months.

On 20 December junior doctors will walk out and again on 23 December, 3 January and 9 January 2024 from 7am on those dates.

The strikes will last for six days in January 2024 which will represent the longest period of strikes action in the history of the NHS the BMA union said.

Tax deductions: Keep more of your money

During Prime Minister’s Questions Rishi Sunak said that “every other part of the public sector” who took industrial action had resolved their pay disputes.

Junior doctors were offered a 3% pay rise on top of the average 8.8% which was given early this year in the summer months.

The strike action has filled the hospital leaders with dread and gave a grim warning that this will “undermine efforts to cut waiting lists,” which the Prime Minister has listed as one of his key priorities.

Tory former health minister Dr Caroline Johnson told MPs in the Commons, “As someone who has worked as a junior doctor, I understand it is a demanding job and I have sympathy with the challenges they face, however, the strikes that are planned over the festive period threaten public safety and they will delay people’s treatment.

“Causing patient suffering in the pursuit of more money for oneself is in my view morally indefensible.

“Can the Prime Minister tell the House what concrete steps he is taking to prevent these strikes and whether he will bring forward minimum service legislation to protect patients in case they do?”

Sunak said, “The Government has now reached settlements with every other part of the public sector including most recently consultants, and I am grateful to them for their constructive engagement with the Government.

“The junior doctors are taking action in the face of a recommendation of an independent body of a 9% pay rise on average, the highest increase across the entire public sector.

“The Government has gone beyond that in conversations with them and they have still decided to take damaging strike action. It is wrong and that is why we have introduced minimum service levels to ensure that we can guarantee a safe level of care for patients across the NHS.

“It would be good to hear at some point from the Labour Party whether they will get off the fence, condemn these strikes and back these minimum service levels.”

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairmen Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said in a statement: “We have been clear from the outset of these talks that we needed to move at pace and, if we did not have a credible offer, we would be forced to call strikes.

“After five weeks of intense talks, the Government was unable to present a credible offer on pay by the deadline.

“Instead, we were offered an additional 3%, unevenly spread across doctors’ grades, which would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year. It is clear the Government is still not prepared to address the real-terms pay cut doctors have experienced since 2008.

“It is a great shame that, even though the approach was more constructive, there was not enough on offer to shape a credible deal, which we hoped would end the dispute.

“Without enough progress by the deadline, we have no choice but to take action that demonstrates doctors are as determined as ever in reversing their pay cuts.

“However, we can still avoid the need for these strikes. We will be ready and willing any time the Government wants to talk.

“If a credible offer can be presented the day before, or even during any action, these strikes can be cancelled.

“The approach from Ms Atkins and the team has been productive but ultimately that alone is not sufficient to make up for 15 years of declining pay.

“A year after our dispute started, we are still too far from turning the tide on plummeting pay, morale, and retention of doctors.

“Rather than waste more time and money and have further disruption to patient care, the Health Secretary needs to make a credible offer now.”

Leave a Comment

You may also like


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]