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Doctors vote for six months’ more strikes

Published on: 20 Mar 2024

Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly to extend their strike mandate for a further six months, the British Medical Association has announced.

A ballot ending today saw 98 per cent say they would take part in a further six months of strike action, on a 62 per cent turnout.

It comes a year after the group’s first strike action in March last year. There have been junior doctor strikes in nine out of 11 months since then.

The new mandate will last until 19 September, close to the likely beginning of a general election campaign.

For the first time in this dispute, junior doctors were also asked whether they would be prepared to take part in industrial action short of striking, to which 97 per cent said yes. 

Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said: “The government should see the urgency of the situation. Rather than waste time dragging out talks, they can come forward with a credible offer on pay right now.”

They said they had given the government time earlier this year to make a “credible offer” while there were no strikes planned.

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins previously accused the BMA of walking away from negotiations before she had made an offer.

The government has previously offered a further increase worth 3 per cent of pay in cash terms, on top of an 8.8 per cent average increase given in the summer.

Junior doctors are calling for pay restoration to 2008 levels, claiming the real-term value of their pay has declined by more than a quarter over the past decade and a half.

Meanwhile, consultants are currently being re-balloted on their most recent offer from the government, after very narrowly rejecting a previous deal.