Junior Doctors fighting for NHS!

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Junior Doctors on the picket line at UCH Hospital, central London earlier this year

‘ACTION now to defend the NHS!’ demand thousands of Junior Doctors as they begin another three-day strike at 7.00am today.

At the end of it junior doctors will have taken four weeks of strike action this year against relentless Tory attacks on their pay and on the NHS as a whole.

A further six-day strike will begin at 7.00am on Wednesday 3rd January and conclude at 7.00am on Tuesday 9th.

Yesterday, British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi condemned inaction by new Tory Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, who gave them the impression when she met them recently that she was going to try to resolve the dispute.

Dr Laurenson and Dr Trivdo said: ‘It is extremely disappointing to be in this position. We had hoped that after a much-improved tone and approach from the new Health Secretary, Ms Atkins, we were close to a solution to this dispute.

‘We were encouraged by her insistence last week that even after our mutually agreed deadline had passed and we were forced to call new strikes, we had still not heard her “final offer”.

‘We have spent the last two weeks awaiting this final offer in the hope it would be the long-awaited credible offer we could put to our members. Unfortunately, we are still yet to hear it.

‘It is now for the Health Secretary to show true leadership and leave behind the dogma that has been holding talks back – she needs to be willing to talk to us regardless of whether strikes are scheduled.

‘If Ms Atkins comes to us any time over the Christmas and New Year period, we will be there willing to talk.

‘After so many missed opportunities in 2023 to settle the dispute, at a cost of £2 billion to the NHS, surely now is the moment to conclude that everyone’s time would be saved by cutting out unnecessary posturing.

‘Patients in need of care deserve nothing less.’

Prof Philip , BMA chair of council, said: ‘Every winter, doctors raise the alarm about the terrible effects of the NHS staffing crisis, only to be met with indifference by Whitehall.

‘Doctors don’t want to strike; we would much rather be caring for patients than standing on picket lines.

‘But we have to be honest – a health service in which pay declines in real terms every year is not a sustainable – or healthy – health service.

‘If the government wants patients to get the care they need and reduce the huge waiting lists, it has to invest in the expertise required to deliver this.

‘The deadlines were known, and there is a deal to be done: now is the time to do it.

‘This is the last strike action of 2023, which will have seen 28 days of action by junior doctors.

‘The government is entirely capable of making the total for 2024 zero days – but it needs to make a serious and credible offer now that we can put to members.’