The junior doctors’ strike is entering its second day
Thousands of junior doctors have entered a second day of strikes as health leaders warned the NHS is under “high pressure” as a result of the strikes.
Tens of thousands of appointments and surgeries are expected to be canceled as a result of the 72-hour strike in England that began Monday morning.
According to the NHS, more than 100,000 appointments have already been postponed this winter after nurses and other health workers went on strike in a dispute with the government over pay.
NHS leaders said emergency care and other departments were under significant pressure, even with advisers and other staff taking over the work of junior doctors on picket lines.
The British Medical Association (BMA) says junior doctor salaries have fallen by 26% in real terms since 2008/09 and to reverse this would require a 35.3% pay rise.
On Friday, Health Secretary Steve Barclay invited the BMA for talks – but the union rejected the idea, saying there were “unacceptable” pre-conditions.
It is understood the requirements included consideration of an unconsolidated lump sum payment for the last year, while the BMA seeks what it calls a “full salary restoration”.
The union has begged the government to drop the preconditions.
dr Rob Laurenson and Dr. Vivek Trivedi, co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee, said in a statement: “We remain open to discussions with the Government, anytime, anywhere, to bring this dispute to a speedy resolution and restore the pay that these junior doctors have.” lost.
“If the health secretary is really committed to this, he needs to drop these unreasonable preconditions and start proper negotiations with us.
“The requirements contradict exactly what the young doctors are arguing about. The question comes up; does he even understand why doctors are so angry?
“Patients and doctors want a quick end to this dispute, but it seems the government wants to prolong it. So we ask him to drop the barriers he has put up and speak up – doctors and patients deserve nothing less.”
Around 45% of NHS medical staff are junior doctors and consultants and other medical professionals have been drafted in to provide strike protection in areas such as A&E.
Hospital bosses have said they are scheduling services “hour by hour” during the strikes and redirecting more senior doctors who are not on strike to services with the “greatest clinical need”.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday that the strikes are “probably going to be the hardest of any (strike) days this winter, maybe even the hardest disruption we’ve ever had.” have seen every strike in the NHS throughout its history”.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Managers have worked hard to minimize disruption, but with young doctors making up almost two-fifths of an already understaffed workforce, thousands of appointments and non-urgent surgeries have yet to be canceled that most vital services can be prioritized.
“Even with counselors and staff from other services working together to fill shifts, the ER and other departments are still under a lot of pressure. Health leaders expect this to continue over the next two days of strikes and beyond, especially as those doing extra work now have to take time off.”
He added: “There are no winners in the current standoff between the BMA and the government. On behalf of our members and the communities they serve, we call on both sides of this dispute to compromise and end these strikes.”
Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, told the Today programme: “It’s a very long hour in terms of logistics around planning the next three days hour, see who’s coming, see where we need to deploy our staff.
“We’re working with our doctors so we can redeploy to where the need is greatest – whether that’s in the ITU, whether it’s in the ER, whether it’s on the wards.”
Professor Philip Banfield, leader of the Council of the BMA, told the PA news agency from a picket line outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Monday: “We’re having the worst crisis in the NHS I’ve ever seen and there are young doctors looking at theirs droves.
“The junior doctors’ strike is so sad to see, but they feel compelled to do it.”
Talks between the government and other health unions – including those representing nurses, physiotherapists and ambulance workers – continue this week, hoping for a breakthrough in the long-running NHS pay dispute.
On Monday, Mr Barclay said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the British Medical Association (BMA) has turned down my offer to take part in formal salary negotiations as strikes are suspended.
“I want to find a fair deal that recognizes the crucial role of junior doctors and the broader economic pressures the UK is facing.
“I have had constructive and meaningful talks with unions representing nurses, ambulances and other non-medical workers who have agreed to call off the strikes and negotiations will continue this week.”
It comes as members of several unions are set to go on strike on Budget Day Wednesday in what will be one of the biggest single days of industrial action in years.
Workers taking action include civil servants, teachers, university staff, London Tube drivers and BBC journalists.
On Monday, Rishi Sunak said he didn’t think it was right that “so much disruption” was being caused by industrial action as he defended his government’s anti-strike legislation.
Speaking to Sky News in San Diego, US, the Prime Minister said: “I don’t think it’s right that the lives of working families are being impacted so badly.
“That’s why, as Prime Minister, I introduced new legislation to ensure a minimum level of security in our critical public services like rail, education and healthcare.
“It’s precisely because I think people shouldn’t have this disorder in their lives that I’m getting this new law through Parliament.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/british-medical-association-government-stephen-powis-england-matthew-taylor-b1067027.html The junior doctors’ strike is entering its second day