Health Secretary Steve Barclay has criticised junior doctors, accusing them of “walking away” from talks over pay and conditions.
The British Medical Association – the union representing many from the profession – has called a five-day strike in July and is demanding a rise of 35% to restore their wages to 2008 levels.
It has also accused the government of refusing to get round the table to negotiate a deal.
But Mr Barclay told Sky News that junior doctors had “refused to move” during three weeks of talks earlier this year, adding: “It was the junior doctors sadly who walked away from the discussions and called a further strike.”
Politics live: Striking doctors ‘walked away’ from talks, says Barclay
Junior doctors went on strike for three days in June, following a four-day walk-out in April and three days in March.
The BMA claims pay has decreased by more than a quarter since 2008 when inflation was taken into account, so the 5% offer on the table was far below what was needed.
And they said many doctors were burnt out from an increasing workload.
But Mr Barclay said the 35% pay restoration demand was not “affordable in the context of inflation and the other pressures” on the economy.