Junior doctors and consultants will unite to take joint strike action this September, for the first time in the history of the National Health Service (NHS).
The British Medical Association (BMA) confirmed that NHS workers would walk out over four days this month, with further strikes confirmed for October.
Staff will work on a “Christmas day cover” basis for both periods of industrial action, meaning emergency care will continue to be provided.
Junior doctors from the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) – the hospital doctors’ union – will also be striking across the same days.
Why are NHS staff going on strike?
NHS staff are taking strike action over pay and terms and conditions.
Junior doctors are seeking a 35 per cent salary increase in order to achieve “full pay restoration” after the value of their salaries fell by 26.2 per cent since 2008.
Doctors who started their hospital training this year are due to receive a 10.3 per cent pay increase, with the average junior doctor set to get a 8.8 per cent rise. Consultants have been offered a 6 per cent rise.
What dates are NHS staff striking in September?
Consultants will strike on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 September, with “Christmas Day cover” planned for these dates.
Junior doctors will strike on Wednesday 20, Thursday 21 and Friday 22 September.
In October, both consultants and junior doctors will strike on Monday 2, Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 October.
What has the BMA and the Government said regarding the strikes?
Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, the joint chairs of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, warned Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay that their members would continue striking until spring 2025 if necessary.
“Rishi Sunak now has nowhere to hide,” they said. “There can be no more delaying, no more wasting time with impositions of pay deals, no more declarations that strikes must end before even stepping in the room with us. If he does not come to the table with a credible offer on pay, he will face another six months of strike action.
“And another six months after, and after that, if he continues to ignore us. He knows the stakes, he knows our ask, and now he knows our resolve.
“The Prime Minister faces a profession united in its determination to address pay erosion. Consultants and junior doctors stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity after months of facing the same inflexibility from government.”
The Health Secretary said the joint strike was “extremely disappointing” as he criticised the “relentless and co-ordinated strike action” on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Nearly 900,000 appointments have been cancelled due to strike action,” he said. “I fear the BMA’s hard-line stance and threat of indefinite action means this number will only keep rising.”
“My door is always open to discuss how we can work together with NHS staff to improve their working lives – but this pay award is final, so I urge the BMA to call an end to this callous and calculated disruption,” he added.