Junior Doctor Strikes – What can be done?
Written by Tobias Luke Phipps on 10th May 2023
With no agreement reached between the government and striking junior doctors, the strikes look set to continue across England and Wales, including the North East.
Despite strikes taking place in both March and April, the government has refused to meet with the BMA, the union representing junior doctors, over a 35% pay increase demand described by Health Secretary Steve Barclay as ‘unreasonable’.
Barclay said: “Not only will the walkouts risk patient safety, but they have also been timed to maximise disruption after the Easter break.”
This refusal to meet with the union has led to criticism of the government. The BMA said the government had ‘dragged its feet’ in negotiations leading up to the four-day strike in April.
Dr Trevor Dorkin, a Consultant Urological Surgeon at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, believes the government should be more willing to get round the table to meet with junior doctors.
Since 2010 NHS workers have had real term pay cuts, with junior doctors amongst the worst hit of these workers, suffering a 25% real term pay cut in the last 13 years.