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Dates for three-day junior doctors strike announced

Published on: 24 Feb 2023

Thousands of junior doctors will walk out from 13 March until the morning of 16 March, the British Medical Association has announced.

The union confirmed the walkouts will last from 7am Monday 13th, until 7am on Thursday 16th. The strike will involve the “full stoppage of work”, including nights, on-call shifts and non-residential work.

The strike will coincide with a walkout by members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association union, who announced today they will extend their walkout from one day to walk out at the same times.

It is the first time HCSA members have voted to take strike action in the union’s history. GMB and Unite members working at ambulance trusts are also striking on 6 and 20 March (see strike calendar below).

The announcement comes after the BMA revealed 98 per cent of junior doctor members had voted to take industrial action on a 77 per cent turnout. Meanwhile, the HCSA saw 97 per cent vote yes on a 75 per cent turnout.

The BMA claims junior doctors’ pay has fallen by 26 per cent over the last 15 years, and wants this drop reversed.

Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said: “Make no mistake, this strike was absolutely in the government’s gift to avert. They know it, we know it and our patients also need to know it.

“We have tried, since last summer, to get each health secretary we have had, round the negotiating table. We have written many times and even as late as yesterday we were hopeful [health and social care secretary] Steve Barclay would recognise the need to meet with us to find a workable solution that could have averted this strike.

“We have not been told why we have not been offered intensive negotiations nor what we need to do for the government to begin negotiations with us.

“We are left with no option but to proceed with this action.”

HCSA president Naru Narayanan said the government must “wake up from its complacency and start negotiating”, adding: “They are deluded if they think ignoring the situation will make it go away. If we don’t fix pay we will face an even bigger collapse.

“We need a fully funded pay settlement to prevent an exodus of doctors and stabilise our NHS.”

Junior doctors in England were excluded from the latest government pay award as their contract remains subject to a multi-year pay deal that ends in March. They were awarded 2 per cent for 2022-23.

In its latest report, the doctors’ pay review body said this was “likely not sufficient” in addressing recruitment, retention and motivation.

The junior doctors’ strike comes as the Royal College of Nursing agreed to pause its next wave of strike action, set for 1 to 3 March, to engage in talks with ministers over pay.

Unions have been urging ministers to open negotiations on the 2022-23 Agenda for Change pay deal, as the government’s latest pay award was significantly below current levels of inflation.