Junior doctors strike latest: When junior doctors go on strike & how will it affect NHS services
Junior doctors are set to go on strike this week over a long running dispute over pay.
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Junior doctors will go on strike as the Easter bank holiday weekend comes to an end, with strikes lasting four days. More than 250,000 appointments and operations are expected to be cancelled in England during the walkout. People are being urged to "avoid risky behaviour" as emergency and urgent care will be prioritised over routine appointments and treatments during the strike.
GPs, pharmacists and matrons are among NHS staff being drafted in to help trusts cope throughout the week. According to the national medical director of NHS England, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the strike will bring "immense pressures" to NHS staff and services.
He said: “The NHS has been preparing extensively for the next set of strikes but managing additional pressure doesn’t get easier as time goes by - it gets much more difficult, not only due to the sheer number of appointments that need to be rescheduled, but also that they can take time to rearrange with multiple teams involved. This is set to be the most disruptive industrial action in NHS history, and the strikes tomorrow will bring immense pressures, coming on the back of a challenged extended bank holiday weekend for staff and services.”
The British Medical Association (BMA) says that junior doctors have suffered 15 years of "pay erosion". The BMA insists that junior doctors have lost more than 25% of their pay in real terms and that strikes could have been avoided if the government made a “credible” pay offer.
According to NHS England, junior doctors make up around half of all doctors in the NHS. They are qualified doctors who have up to eight years’ experience working as a hospital doctor, depending on their speciality, or up to three years in general practice.
The BMA wants a 35% pay rise for junior doctors in England. Health secretary Steve Barclay described the BMA’s position as "unrealistic", he said: "This demand is widely out of step with pay settlements in other parts of the public sector at a time of considerable economic pressure on our country.”
When are the junior doctor strikes?
The junior doctor strikes are set to begin immediately after the Easter bank holiday, at 7am on Tuesday April 11 and last until the morning of Saturday, April 15. Almost 37,000 out of 47,692 eligible BMA members took part in the strike ballot, with 98 per cent voting in favour of walkouts.
Junior doctor strikes: how will NHS services be affected?
According to NHS England, more than 250,000 appointments and operations will be cancelled during the junior doctors strike. The health body announced that staff will be asked to prioritise emergency and urgent care over some routine appointments and procedures.