The British Medical Association (BMA) has confirmed that the strike began today (Monday, October 2), at 7am, which will see them work a bare minimum rota with major delays in the NHS now expected for patients.
From 7am we once again stand shoulder to shoulder with @BMA_Consultants for joint industrial action. This means striking with Christmas Day cover to ensure the lowest safe level of staffing is in place.
Read our guidance on this here: https://t.co/ha9mnUjMAk #PayRestoration pic.twitter.com/W5lusd6koE
— Junior Doctors (@BMA_JuniorDocs) October 2, 2023
The co-ordinated industrial action will see staff work “Christmas Day cover”, meaning emergency care will continue to be provided.
The union has told Rishi Sunak that he has “nowhere to hide” although the Government has expressed its displeasure.
When are junior doctors and consultants striking?
Consultants have already walked out for 48 hours from September 19, and were then joined by their junior colleagues on September 20.
Junior doctors then continued their strike on September 21 and 22.
Both consultants and junior doctors are now striking together on October 2, 3, and 4.
Why are junior doctors striking?
The doctors’ union BMA has said Mr Sunak is “refusing to negotiate with us and with our consultant colleagues” over the issue of pay.
“Rishi Sunak now has nowhere to hide,” junior doctor committee co-chairmen Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said in a joint statement.
“There can be no more delaying, no more wasting time with impositions of pay deals, no more declarations that strikes must end before even stepping into the room with us.”
In July, the Government said junior doctors would get pay rises of six per cent, along with an additional consolidated £1,250 increase, and that hospital consultants would also receive six per cent.
Health secretary Steve Barclay has said there will be “no more negotiations on pay”.
Why are consultants striking?
Consultants are also unimpressed with the six per cent offer, with the BMA pushing ahead with the strikes.
The statement said: “If [the government] does not come to the table with a credible offer on pay, he will face another six months of strike action. And another six months after, and after that, if he continues to ignore us. He knows the stakes, he knows our ask, and now he knows our resolve.”
Mr Barclay added: “My door is always open to discuss how we can work together with NHS staff to improve their working lives, but this pay award is final so I urge the BMA to call an end to this callous and calculated disruption.”
However, a survey released today by the BMA shows that 42 per cent of the public blame the Government for the increase in waiting lists for elective treatment, which have risen from 2.6 million in 2010 to almost 7.7 million in 2023. This is almost three times the number who blame striking doctors (15 per cent).
Especially concerning for the Government as it heads into its annual conference will be the finding that more than a fifth of 2019 Conservative voters (22 per cent) blame it for the current dire situation of waiting lists in England.