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Junior Doctors and Consultants in England to Strike Together

Junior doctors and consultants will hold a joint strike for the first time in the history of the health service in what has been described as a "serious escalation" in their row with the Government over pay.

The co-ordinated industrial action is set to take place in September and October, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.

Consultants had already announced plans to walk out for 48 hours from 19 September and will be joined by their junior colleagues on 20 September.

Junior doctors will then continue their strike on 21 and 22 September.

Both consultants and junior doctors will then strike together on 2, 3, and 4 October.

Staff will work on a "Christmas day cover" basis for both spells of industrial action, meaning emergency care will continue to be provided.

BMA Secures Mandate for A Further 6 Months of Industrial Action

It comes after junior doctors voted in favour of continuing strike action, with the BMA's mandate on industrial action renewed for another 6 months.

Junior doctor committee co-chairmen Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: "Rishi Sunak now has nowhere to hide. 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 6 months of strike action. And another 6 months after, and after that, if he continues to ignore us."

Junior doctors from the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) will also be striking across the same six days. Dr Karim Salem, HCSA junior doctors committee co-chair, said: "Steve Barclay and Rishi Sunak think they can just sit on their hands and wait for junior doctors to give in. But the crisis in our NHS is not going away."

Health Secretary Calls for an End to "Callous" Disruption

In July, the Government said junior doctors would get pay rises of 6%, along with an additional consolidated £1250 increase, and hospital consultants will also receive 6%.

England's Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, has said there will be "no more negotiations on pay". He described the union's latest announcement as "extremely disappointing", adding: "I know it will weigh heavily on the minds of their NHS colleagues and patients – both of whom are shouldering the brunt of the BMA's relentless and now co-ordinated strike action. 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."

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the latest consultants strike — which took place on 24 to 26 August — impacted 45,827 inpatient and outpatient hospital appointments in England. A further 1302 cancellations in mental health, learning disability, and community settings were also recorded, though this is likely to include a small amount of double-counting, NHS England said.

Industrial action in the NHS has been ongoing since December 2022, with the number of inpatient and outpatient appointments cancelled now standing at 885,154.

If the community and mental health figures are included, the total rises to more than 940,000 – though this will not reflect the overall number of actual cancellations, due to some duplication of data.

NHS Trusts Warn of "Grim" Winter Ahead

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said co-ordinated action is a "serious escalation in the doctors' industrial dispute". He added: "We now face the grim prospect of another 6 months of walkouts from junior doctors, which will pile even more pressure on the NHS this winter, causing yet more disruption for patients.

"This is going to be an unprecedented challenge for the health service."

Sir Julian said the vote in favour of continuing industrial action should be "a wake-up call for both sides of the dispute to sit down together, talk, and agree on a resolution".

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