Junior doctors urged to strike nine days after starting work in the NHS

Thousands of junior doctors will begin their careers on the first Wednesday in August.

Thousands of brand new doctors are being urged to strike just nine days after starting work in England’s hospitals.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that junior doctors in England are to stage a fresh four-day walkout amid the ongoing row with the Government over pay.

The strike will begin at 7am on August 11 – just nine days after Foundation Year 1 junior doctors start their first ever NHS jobs on Wednesday August 2.

Every year thousands of Foundation Year 1 doctors in England start their in-hospital training on the same day – the first Wednesday in August – though some will have shadowed senior doctors for the week beforehand.

A significant number of these doctors will have signed up to the union before they start their careers and the PA news agency understands these medics will be encouraged to take to pickets along with their new colleagues.

The four-day walkout will take place in England between 7am on Friday August 11 and 7am on Tuesday August 15.

Junior doctors from the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) announced they will also strike during the same days.

It is the latest round of strikes from both junior doctors and consultants, which has led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of NHS appointments.

Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said in a statement: “It should never have got to the point where we needed to announce a fifth round of strike action.

“Our message today remains the same: act like a responsible government, come to the table to negotiate with us in good faith, and with a credible offer these strikes need not go ahead at all.

“The Prime Minister has told us that talks are over.

“But it is not for Rishi Sunak to decide that negotiations are over before he has even stepped in the room.

“This dispute will end only at the negotiating table. If the Prime Minister was hoping to demoralise and divide our profession with his actions, he will be disappointed.

“Consultants, along with our specialist and associate specialist colleagues, have covered crucial services during our strikes and those same consultants were also on their own picket lines last week.

“Mutual solidarity has been on display at hospital picket lines up and down the country: this is a profession united in its refusal to accept yet another pay cut.

“Junior doctors are not going anywhere however much Government might wish we would. The facts have not changed: we have lost more than a quarter of our pay in 15 years and we are here to get it back.”

Health service leaders have called for an end to the dispute after figures show that industrial action in England over the last eight months has led to 819,000 appointments, operations and procedures being postponed.

Earlier this month the Government announced pay increases for millions of public sector workers, including doctors.

It said that junior doctors will receive a 6% rise along with an additional consolidated £1,250 increase, while hospital consultants will receive a 6% rise.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the deal was the “final offer” and that there will be “no more talks on pay”.

As a result, BMA consultants announced that further walkouts will take place shortly before the August bank holiday, on August 24 and 25.

The latest announcement from junior doctors means there will be six severely disrupted days in the NHS in England in August.

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