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

20 March 2024, 18:18

Junior doctors demonstrate in Trafalgar Square before marching to the Department of Health, April 11, 2023
Junior doctors demonstrate in Trafalgar Square before marching to the Department of Health, April 11, 2023. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Junior doctors have voted by 98 per cent to continue strike action, extending their long-running pay dispute by at least six months.

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Some 33,869 junior doctors voted on the new mandate to at least September 19, the British Medical Association announced. The turnout of the vote was 62 per cent.

Since March last year there have been a total of 10 junior doctor walkouts, with more set to come following the announcement of today's vote.

Junior doctors part of the BMA are asking for a 35 per cent pay rise - which they have called "perfectly reasonable".

The government believes the BMA's demands are unreasonable, however, with the health secretary calling for a "reasonable solution” to end the action.

Victoria Atkins, Health Secretary, at Downing Street, March 19
Victoria Atkins, Health Secretary, at Downing Street, March 19. Picture: Alamy

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Junior doctors make up around half of the NHS workforce, with around two-thirds members of the BMA.

Announcing the result of the re-ballot junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi thanked their colleagues for voting for the new mandate.

They called on the health secretary to come forward and make a new offer "as soon as possible".

Junior doctors are asking the government to increase their pay so it reflects what they were paid in 2008 in line with real-term inflation - calling their demands "perfectly reasonable".

“It has now been a year since we began strike action”, they said in a statement.

“That is a year of too many strikes. The government believed it could ignore, delay, and offer excuses long enough that we would simply give up.

“We ask the health secretary to come forward as soon as possible with a new offer - and make sure not a single further strike day need be called.”

Junior doctors have had a nine per cent pay rise this financial year.

Addressing the demands after junior doctors rejected a pay offer in February, Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, said: “We already provided them with a pay increase of up to 10.3 per cent and were prepared to go further.

“We urged them to put an offer to their members, but they refused. We are also open to further discussions on improving doctors’ and the wider workforce’s working lives.”

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