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Junior doctors in England will go on strike for four extra days subsequent month, in an escalation of their marketing campaign to safe a greater pay provide from Rishi Sunak’s authorities.
The British Medical Association, the principle doctors’ union, mentioned on Wednesday that junior doctors would stroll out between August 11 and August 15. It will probably be their fifth stoppage since a wave of business motion involving doctors, nurses, ambulance employees and different employees first hit the NHS in December final yr.
Junior doctors belonging to the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, a smaller union, can even be part of the strike.
Consultants in England, who this month staged their first action for greater than a decade, have already introduced a 48-hour strike from August 24, piling contemporary stress on the prime minister’s pledge to lower NHS ready lists forward of the final election anticipated subsequent yr.
Official figures revealed on Monday confirmed that industrial action by NHS employees has led to the cancellation of greater than 820,000 operations and hospital appointments since final yr, whereas 7.5mn persons are awaiting non-urgent hospital therapy, in accordance to information from earlier this month.
Sunak this month announced a 6 per cent wage increase for 2023-24, plus a £1,250 consolidated cost, for junior doctors in a push to finish the wave of public sector walkouts sparked by the price of dwelling disaster. He mentioned the provide was “final” and that “no amount of strikes” would “change this decision”.
But Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors’ committee, mentioned the federal government’s proposal failed to make up for 15 years of pay erosion and that it was “not for . . . Sunak to decide that negotiations are over before he has even stepped in the room”.
“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,” they added.
In May, the NHS Staff Council voted to accept a proposal of a 5 per cent rise for 2023-23 and one-off funds value up to £3,789 for 2022-23 for the 1mn-plus employees in England whose pay is negotiated beneath the “Agenda for Change” framework.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing voted towards the provide, however in June the principle nursing union’s management failed to win a brand new mandate for walkouts.
However, radiographers in England coated by the May deal are actually on a 48-hour strike, with about one-quarter of the occupation on picket traces.
Laurenson and Trivedi mentioned consultants and different doctors had coated essential companies throughout strikes by junior doctors, who staged an unprecedented five-day stoppage this month, with “mutual solidarity” in proof throughout the nation.
Theirs was “a profession united in its refusal to accept yet another pay cut”, they added.
Health minister Will Quince described the four-day walkout as “a hugely disappointing move by the BMA, whose continued action will harm patient care and put further pressure on other NHS staff”.
Doctors in coaching have been receiving a median enhance of roughly 8.8 per cent, “which is above what most in the public and private sectors are receiving”, he added.
Separately, NHS England on Thursday set out plans to ease winter pressures, warning that it was bracing for “the possibility of higher than usual levels of respiratory illness including Covid, flu and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]”.
It mentioned Australia, the place exercise usually signifies what England is probably going to expertise, was enduring one of many largest flu seasons on report, with kids significantly affected.
Acute respiratory hubs, the place sufferers can get an pressing same-day face-to-face evaluation, will probably be out there in each a part of the nation. Care “traffic control” centres can even be launched in an effort to be part of up completely different companies, akin to social care and housing, so it’s simpler to discharge medically match folks from hospital.
“Drawing information from electronic patient records to track patients and link up with housing services, it is expected a third of patients could be discharged using this model by December,” NHS England mentioned, including that it might make out there 800 extra ambulances and 5,000 further beds.