UK's new health secretary to hold talks with junior doctors after latest strike

(Reuters) - Britain's newly appointed health secretary, Wes Streeting, will hold talks next week with junior doctors to end an industrial strike action, he said in a statement on Friday.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents around 50,000 junior doctors, said in May that they would strike for five days immediately before Britain's July 4 national election as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

"I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week," Streeting said.

The BMA junior doctors said in a post on X they "were pleased to speak to new health secretary today to get the ball rolling on negotiating a solution to our dispute," and confirmed they agreed to meet next week.

Junior doctors in Britain's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) are qualified physicians, often with several years of experience, who work under the guidance of senior doctors and make up a large share of the medical community.

Strikes by doctors have heaped more pressure on an already overburdened NHS, where more than 7 million patients on waiting lists seek treatment, leading to thousands of cancelled appointments and procedures.

(Reporting by Utkarsh Shetti in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)