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Junior doctors begin four-day strike

Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

Junior doctors in England have embarked on a four-day strike demanding a 35% pay increase and better patient safety.

To coincide with the walk-out, the British Medical Association (BMA) has published an advertising campaign to highlight the daily rates of pay that junior doctors earn, in support of their strike actions.

NHS England’s medical director ,Professor Stephen Powis, said the strike action will cause “unparalleled disruption” which will take years to recover from, according to a report on the BBC.

More than a quarter of a million operations and appointments could be cancelled as a result, the NHS Confederation warned.

The BMA’s advert depicts three doctors with 10, seven and one year’s experience in an operating theatre removing an appendix. For the hour-long procedure they would earn £28, £24.46 and £14.09 respectively.

The BMA’s caption asks: “Is this a fair price to provide patients with high quality healthcare?”

The association argues that over the past 15 years, junior doctors in England, have suffered a 26% erosion in their real-term pay.

‘We are always ready to talk’

Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, said: “It is appalling that this Government feels that paying three junior doctors as little as £66.55 between them for work of this value, is justified. This is highly skilled work requiring years of study and intensive training in a high-pressure environment where the job can be a matter of life and death.

“Full pay restoration is not a high price to pay for healthcare that junior doctors deliver. It would see these same three doctors only being paid around £90 between them, still extremely good value for a surgical emergency.

“That is why this week they are striking to be paid what they are worth. As we have made clear in our latest offer to begin talks – we are always ready to talk and Mr Barclay can stop the strikes at any time if he proposes a credible offer.”

Speaking to the Telegraph over the weekend, health secretary Steve Barclay said the pay demands were “unrealistic”.

He added the walkout, coinciding with the end of the bank holiday, school holidays, Ramadan and Passover has been timed to cause maximum disruption and that the pay demands were out of step with settlements in other areas of the public sector.

It comes amid a wave of strikes by different public sector workers including nurses, ambulance staff and teachers.