Junior doctors to strike again in England in December and January after government talks break down | UK News

Junior doctors in England are to go on strike again later this month and early next year, after talks with the government broke down.

The British Medical Association (BMA) says it will call on members to walk out in December before Christmas and again in early January for several days at a time.

The first strike action will take place over three days from 7am on Wednesday 20 December to 7am on Saturday 23 December.

The second walkout will be held over six days from 7am on Wednesday 3 January until 7am on Tuesday 9 January.

The BMA told its members: “This means you should not attend any shifts starting after 6.59am on the first day of strike action. You can then attend any shifts starting from 7am on the final day.”

Ministers and BMA representatives have been locked in negotiations for over a month trying to find a resolution to the pay dispute.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, said it was “forced to call strikes” as the “government was unable to present a credible offer on pay” after five weeks of intense talks.

“Instead, we were offered an additional 3%, unevenly spread across doctors’ grades, which would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year. It is clear the government is still not prepared to address the real-terms pay cut doctors have experienced since 2008,” they said.

“It is a great shame that even though the approach was more constructive, there was not enough on offer to shape a credible deal, which we hoped would end the dispute. Without enough progress by the deadline, we have no choice but to take action that demonstrates doctors are as determined as ever in reversing their pay cuts.”

In a direct appeal to Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, they said the BMA was “ready and willing” to return to the negotiating table again should she make “a credible offer”.

They added: “A year after our dispute started, we are still too far from turning the tide on plummeting pay, morale, and retention of doctors.

“If a credible offer can be presented the day before, or even during any action, these strikes can be cancelled.”

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Ms Atkins said the government would “immediately look to come back to the table” if the junior doctors’ strikes were called off.

“It is disappointing that despite significant progress the BMA junior doctors committee have walked away from negotiations and declared new strikes, which will result in more disruption for patients and extra pressure on NHS services and staff as we enter a busy winter period, risking patient safety,” she said in a statement.

“I have been clear that I respect the work of doctors in training and want to work with them to settle this dispute.

“We have agreed a fair and reasonable offer with the BMA’s consultants committee which is being put to members for a vote following constructive talks.

“If the junior doctors committee call off their strikes, we will immediately look to come back to the table to continue negotiations.”