'We're taxpayers, he wants more money': Junior doctors union leader who went on holiday during strike opposed by father

13 April 2023, 06:49

Junior doctors are striking for more pay
Junior doctors are striking for more pay. Picture: Alamy/BMA

By Will Taylor

The father of a union leader who was criticised for holidaying while junior doctors strike has said he opposes the walkout.

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Dr Rob Laurenson's father Ian said his son is on the "other side" of the debate, pointing out how taxpayers foot the bill for the NHS.

Dr Laurenson, a 29-year-old ex-public schoolboy, was criticised for heading off on holiday as his fellow medics went on a four-day strike.

Ian, 69, a former business consultant from Orpington in South East London, told The Sun: "We have a conflict of interest because we're taxpayers — customers of the NHS — and he's on the other side, wanting more money.

Read more: Union leader behind junior doctors' strike criticised for holiday during 'largest-ever' NHS walkout

"It was a bit of a surprise to us when he stood for election. He's not been known as some sort of militant anarchist and red in the bed."

Dr Laurenson, who is co-chariman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) junior doctors committee, was slammed for heading off on annual leave as his colleagues face losing their pay.

He took annual leave, meaning he does not lose out on any money. The BMA said it was a long-planned event, with reports saying he has gone to a friend's wedding.

Dr Laurenson said junior doctors will not back down
Dr Laurenson said junior doctors will not back down. Picture: BMA

The GP registrar is thought to earn about £40,000 a year, rising to £55,000 with experience.

"We are not going to stop until we are paid what we are worth," he said at the onset of the strike.

"If ministers don't accept that when we tell them in person, we will have to tell them from the picket line."

Read more: 'Claps don't pay the bills': Striking junior doctors march on Downing Street as No10 refuses to back down on pay demands

Doctors have been lobbying for a 35% pay rise.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said he is willing to talk if such a high demand is dropped.

Tory MP Paul Bristow, who sits on the Health and Social Care Committee, said: "While we've got patients missing out, patients suffering, it seems that the leadership of the BMA are enjoying themselves on holiday.

"He is asking his members to sacrifices their pay while they go out on strike, but it seems to me he's not willing to make that sacrifice himself."