Doctor’s union membership hits record high as strike continues

17,000 doctors joined the union since the start of this year

Doctors strike over pay NHS

The British Medical Association (BMA) now has more than 184,000 doctors in their union, a record figure as 17,000 doctors joined since the start of 2023.

This comes as junior doctors enter their third day of a 72-hour strike.

Junior doctors are calling for a pay restoration to make up for 15 years of pay erosion, having experienced a pay cut of 25% since 2008/09, and on top of burdening workloads and burnout.

BMA is now calling on the Health Secretary Steve Barclay to drop his pre-conditions to entering talks with junior doctors in England.

On Monday, Steve Barclay said the government was ready to have negotiations but only if a number of pre-conditions were agreed, including wanting to keep the discussion about future pay.

The union also believes that the Health Secretary is looking for the union to commit to send any offers the government makes to members with a recommendation to accept them, which is not something they would do.

Co-Chairs of the Junior Doctor Committee, Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, said strike action was ‘100% the fault of Steve Barclay’, who they accused of showing ‘no real commitment to resolving the dispute’.

In a joint statement, they said: “We remain open to entering talks with the Government anytime and anywhere to bring this dispute to a swift resolution and restore the pay that junior doctors have lost.

“If the Health Secretary is truly committed to this, then he needs to drop these unreasonable pre-conditions and begin proper negotiations with us.

“It is Steve Barclay who is stopping talks happening by putting up barriers he knows our members cannot accept.

“The preconditions go against the very thing junior doctors are in dispute over.

“It begs the question; does he even understand why doctors are so angry?

“Over several years this Government has broken trust with junior doctors, imposed changes to our work contracts without agreement and excluded junior doctors from pay awards. 

“So, it is really no surprise that we want to see more from the Secretary of State than a vague last-minute letter with impossible preconditions.”

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust

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