Junior doctors to strike next month in dispute over pay

’Our NHS is in an intolerable situation and junior doctors will not be taken for granted anymore,’ union says

Martha McHardy
Monday 20 February 2023 15:36 GMT
Related: UK NHS biggest-ever walkout: Nurses, ambulance crews strike, straining health system

Junior doctors have announced they will be striking next month in a dispute over pay.

The training-grade doctors in the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSE) confirmed they will strike for the first time in the union’s history on 15 March.

A ballot of junior doctors employed by NHS trusts in England in January saw 97.48 per cent vote in favour of striking, on a 74.76 per cent turnout.

HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan said: “Junior doctors have held together patient care amid a spiralling staffing crisis.

“In return for this huge emotional, mental and physical toll they’ve been subjected to a decade of real-terms pay cuts totalling over 26 per cent. Enough is enough.

“Our NHS is in an intolerable situation and junior doctors will not be taken for granted anymore. They are taking decisive action for their patients and for their own wellbeing.

“Falling pay, increasing workloads and dangerous levels of understaffing have driven carers across the NHS to strike.

“The blame for this lies solely with a complacent government, seemingly content to let patient care suffer.

“The ball is firmly in the government’s court. It must act now to negotiate a proper pay increase -part of a wider funding package for the NHS.

“Junior doctors are telling us that without change they will leave the NHS or leave the country entirely for better-paid medical jobs elsewhere. Our health service simply cannot afford for that to happen.”

The HCSA, which represents hospital doctors of all grades across the UK, balloted training-grade doctors employed by NHS trusts in England.

The union previously said 397 people out of 531 who were entitled to vote took part in the ballot.

Around 45,000 junior doctors who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have also been balloted on strike action – with the result due at the end of February.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We hugely value the work of junior doctors and we have been clear that supporting and retaining the NHS workforce is one of our main priorities.

“As part of a multi-year deal we agreed with the BMA, junior doctors’ pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20. We also introduced a higher pay band for the most experienced staff and increased rates for night shifts.

“The Health and Social Care Secretary has met with the BMA and other medical unions to discuss pay, conditions and workload.

“He’s been clear he wants to continue discussing how we can make the NHS a better place to work for all.”

Reporting by Press Association.

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