Junior Doctors Strike Set to Coincide with General Election

Junior Doctors Strike Set to Coincide with General Election
credit: bbc

London (Parliament News) – Junior doctors in the UK will strike for five days over pay disputes, causing NHS disruption just before the general election. Thousands of patients face cancelled care as strikes begin June 27.

Junior doctors in the UK are to strike for five days in their long-running pay controversy, bringing a fresh surge of disruption to the NHS in the week leading up to the general election. Thousands of patients encountered having their care rescinded after the British Medical Association declared a strike from 7 am on 27 June until 7 am on 2 July. Voters go to the polls on 4 July.

What pay demands are junior doctors making?

In a declaration on Wednesday, the BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi stated: “We made clear to the government that we would strike unless discussions ended in a credible pay offer. For more than 18 months we have been asking Rishi Sunak to put forward proposals to restore the pay junior doctors have lost over the past 15 years – equal to more than a quarter in real terms.”

They stated that when they entered mediation with the administration this month they did so under the belief that “we had a functioning government that would soon be making an offer. Clearly, no request is now forthcoming. Junior doctors are fed up and out of patience.”

Sunak still had the option to show that he cared about the NHS and its workers, Laurenson and Trivedi added. “If during this movement he makes such a public commitment that is acceptable to the BMA’s junior doctors committee, then no strikes need go ahead.”

What impact will the strike have on patients’ care?

Health leaders voiced alarm, warning the five-day strike would again jeopardise measures to tackle the record waiting list and push other benefits to breaking point. 

What are the junior doctors’ long-term pay restoration goals?

Junior doctors in England voted in March to keep on striking until the middle of September. Those belonging to the BMA voted overwhelmingly to orchestrate further stoppages in addition to the 41 days of strikes held since March 2023.

They approved a further six months of jams by 98% on a 62% turnout. There was almost unanimous approval– 97% in favour, with just 3% against – for taking a step short of a strike, such as refusing to work overtime, in search of a 35% pay rise. They are pursuing the 35% rise as “full restoration” of the 26% drop in the real-terms value of their salaries since 2008.

How has the health secretary reacted to the strike announcement?

The health secretary contested Labour to condemn the junior doctors’ conclusion to strike during the election campaign. Writing on X, Victoria Atkins stated: “Today should be the day the Labour party finally condemn junior doctor strikes. Announcing this during an election and on Labour’s health day shows this was only ever political and not about patients or staff.”

She described it as a “highly cynical tactic”, adding: “This Conservative administration has taken the tough conclusions to keep public spending down to bear down on inflation, which is now about to normal. Labour would be in the hands of their union paymasters – representing more spending and higher taxes.”

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the Il24.it circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.