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Junior doctors start their longest strike in NHS history on Wednesday – but what do they want? | UK News

Junior doctors in England are due to walk out for six days, starting on Wednesday morning.

The industrial action, from 7am on 3 January to 7am on 9 January, is the longest in the history of the NHS.

Health service executives have said the strike could mean “one of the most difficult starts to the year the NHS has ever faced”.

But the British Medical Association (BMA) has said it was forced to take action and reject the government’s December pay offer as it fails to compensate for real-terms pay cuts going as far back as 2008.

Here Sky News looks at why the strikes are happening and what both sides have said about them.

Who is striking?

The strikes only involve junior doctors in England. Under the NHS system, a junior doctor is any medical school graduate with between one and nine years’ experience.

They can be either members of the BMA or the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association union.

NHS consultants took strike action in September and October and agreed to an extra 4.95% pay rise for senior doctors on top of the annual 6% increase already offered to them by the government.

This will be voted on by members of their union this month.

Medical students and staff who are not junior doctors are not legally allowed to join their colleagues on the picket line when scheduled to work.

But they can offer support and supplies when not on duty.

Junior doctors who work within the armed forces are also not permitted to take part.

Junior doctors and members of the British Medical Association (BMA) on the picket line outside University College Hospital, London, during their continuing dispute over pay. Picture date: Wednesday December 20, 2023.
BMA members on strike outside University College Hospital in London on 20 December

What do junior doctors want?

The government gave junior doctors an 8.8% pay rise last summer, with an extra 3% offered during the last round of negotiations towards the end of the year.

The BMA said it rejected the 3% offer because it does not make up for a real-term pay cut of nearly a quarter for junior doctors since 2008.

Instead, they are calling for:

• Full pay “restoration” to reverse…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-02 14:12:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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