Junior doctors and Government to enter immediate talks over pay dispute

15 May 2024, 22:59 | Updated: 16 May 2024, 04:57

Junior Doctors and Government to enter talks overseen by an 'external mediator'
Junior Doctors and Government to enter talks overseen by an 'external mediator'. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

Junior doctors in England have entered "mediated talks" with the Government with the hopes of ending a long-running dispute over pay.

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The British Medical Association (BMA) said on Wednesday night that its junior doctors' committee had entered a new "intensive phase of talks" with the Government.

It follows a long-running series of walk outs by doctors over pay, with the new talks set to be facilitated by an external mediator.

The strikes form part of a campaign by the BMA calling for pay restoration, with officials noting that junior doctors had already been given a pay rise of up to 10.3% for the last financial year.

The officials added that the Government has "made clear that further investment was available to resolve the dispute".

The British Medical Association (BMA) said on Wednesday night that its junior doctors' committee had entered a new "intensive phase of talks" with the Government.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said on Wednesday night that its junior doctors' committee had entered a new "intensive phase of talks" with the Government. Picture: Alamy

Junior doctors walked out for six days in early January of this year, demanding a 35% pay increase - but added at the time that they were willing to negotiate.

In a statement, co-chairs of the committee Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: "We have been in dispute for more than a year with the Government over declining junior doctor pay, exploring various avenues to try and resolve it.

"We have been looking at ways of restoring trust between parties and believe that an independent mediator can help break the logjam.

"We hope to reach a credible solution as soon as possible"

Read more: Junior doctors walk out for five-day strike amid long-standing pay row, in latest round of NHS industrial action

Read more: Junior doctors vote by 98 per cent to continue strike action for another six months over pay dispute

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, the union said that it hoped that the talks would "break the logjam and gain a credible pay offer for 23/24".

The Department for Health and social Care said that both parties had agreed a "preferred mediator".

Junior doctors have staged 10 rounds of strike action since the dispute began.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: "My duty is to patients and I want to pursue all avenues to resolve the dispute with the BMA junior doctors' committee.
Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: "My duty is to patients and I want to pursue all avenues to resolve the dispute with the BMA junior doctors' committee. Picture: Alamy

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: "My duty is to patients and I want to pursue all avenues to resolve the dispute with the BMA junior doctors' committee.

"This will ensure they can focus on delivering the highest quality care and help consolidate our recent progress on waiting lists.

"I am pleased the BMA have agreed to explore mediation and I am hopeful that it will provide a way forward".

Commenting on the news, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "This agreement from the BMA and the Government to enter mediation is a hugely positive step following what feels like a period of relative calm in terms of the serious dispute.

"NHS leaders and patients will be hopeful of a resolution.

"At the same time NHS leaders also accept that there are a series of actions that they must take to improve the working lives of doctors."