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British doctors going on joint strike

For first time in NHS history, junior doctors and consultants in England will jointly strike over four days across September and October, Sky News informs.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that the joint action will take place on 19 and 20 September by consultants and on 20 September by junior doctors with further strikes on 21 and 22 September.

The activists are determined to hold a strike on 2, 3, and 4 October. According to the doctor’s union, it is the first joint strike between consultants and junior doctors in the history of NHS.

The selected days coincide with the first conference of the Tori Party, hosted by Rishi Sunak as the prime minister.

The British Government has received a resounding and unambiguous message – junior doctors across the whole England will not back down, as stated by co-chairs of the BMA junior doctor committee Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi.

We are prepared to continue with our industrial action, but we don’t have to – the prime minister has the power to halt any further action by making us a credible offer that we can put to our members.

Criticising BMA’s uncompromising strike, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has called it “extremely disappointing”.

Nearly 900,000 appointments have been cancelled due to strike action.

Mr. Barclay also expressed concern that such a hardline position would lead to an increase in the number of strikers. He also mentioned that wages of the doctors starting their hospital training would rise by 10.3% and an average junior doctor can expect an 8.8% pay increase.

Against the backdrop of an actual 35% salary reduction over the past 14 years, the BMA called the 6% increase offered to physicians “insulting”.

In response to Mr. Barclay’s call “to end this callous and calculated disruption”, BMW representatives said they would continue to act in the autumn against the “backdrop of a hugely understaffed and under-resourced health service”.

A vote among junior doctors, extended for another six months, showed that 98.4% of the respondents agreed with the strike, with a turnout of 71%.

Junior doctors and consultants have seen their pay drop in real terms by over a third in the past 15 years.

The association claims that the British Government is not open to dialogue either with junior doctors or with consultants.

While apologising last week to patients for postponed or canceled appointments, striking consultants attributed responsibility to the government.

Senior doctors held a 48-hour strike that began at 7 am on 24 August.

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, stated that actions of the prime minister and his health secretary resulted in “the most severe strike action yet”.

The risk to patients is intolerable and the blame for cancelled appointments, delayed operations and rising waiting lists lies firmly at the door of 10 Downing Street.

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