Junior doctors start 5 day walkout in longest period of strike action in NHS history
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Patients can expect significant disruption as junior doctors in England begin their longest walkout yet over pay, NHS chiefs say.
The five-day walkout is taking place between 7am on Thursday July 13 and 7am on July 18. The announcement comes as a British Medical Association survey shows that junior doctors report being inundated with more opportunities to move abroad in the last four months than ever before with 53% saying they have received more job advertisements from recruiters to overseas jobs since strikes were announced.
The BMA said the Government of South Australia even paid for trucks to be sent to junior doctor picket lines carrying job adverts offering improved pay if those doctors emigrated. The same survey showed junior doctors feeling that their patients are behind them in their fight for fair pay, with 82%3 reporting they had found their patients supportive of industrial action.
Co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: “The NHS is one of this country’s proudest achievements and it is shameful that we have a Government seemingly content to let it decline to the point of collapse with decades of real-terms pay cuts to doctors driving them away.
“With the 75th birthday of the NHS just days away, neglect of its workforce has left us with 7.4m people on waiting lists for surgery and procedures, 8,500 unfilled doctors’ posts in hospitals, and doctors who can barely walk down the road without a foreign government tempting them to leave an NHS where they are paid £14 per hour for a country which will pay them properly.
The BMA said it has been almost a week since the last round of strikes finished but they have “ not once have we heard from Rishi Sunak or Steve Barclay in terms of reopening negotiations since their collapse of our talks and cancelling all scheduled meetings a month ago.”
They added: “We are announcing the longest single walkout by doctors in the NHS’s history – but this is not a record that needs to go into the history books. Even now the Government can avert our action by coming to the table with a credible offer on pay restoration.
“Restoring pay can stem the flow of Australian job adverts in doctors’ social media feeds – and lead to a future 75 years of doctors being paid fairly, in a rebuilt workforce and NHS that this country can continue to be proud of.”