Junior Doctors issue no confidence vote in Steve Barclay

89% of junior doctors feel less valued now than before the dispute

The BMA union has today called on Rishi Sunak to intervene in their ongoing dispute over pay, as nearly 80% of junior doctors said they have no confidence that the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, can reach a resolution.

It comes on the first day of another 72-hour strike by junior doctors in England in the ongoing dispute for doctor’s pay restoration, to make up for a 26% cut to their salaries since 2008.

Steve Barclay has come under scrutiny once again for failed to appear in the media rounds to comment on the strike action, which he has previously referred to as, ‘disappointing’.

Results of the BMA survey issued today also revealed that 89% of junior doctors felt less valued now than they did before the dispute started due to the government’s attitude towards the negotiations.

A further two-thirds of junior doctors fear the NHS won’t survive the next ten years, as over 50% of those surveyed said they were making plans for leaving or thinking of leaving the NHS due to the Government’s response to industrial action.

Blame was laid at the hands of the government by 80% of junior doctors, the survey reported, with a further 10% blaming Steve Barclay personally.

In their letter to the PM, the union wrote: “With no additional funding, both the Welsh and Scottish governments have recognised the real terms cuts to doctors’ pay, yet your government still refuses to acknowledge pay erosion.

“This has sent a clear message to our members that you have not listened and do not value them.”

Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, also called on Rishi Sunak to intervene in the dispute saying, ‘the best thing the Prime Minster could do today.. is to get around the table and negotiate’.

Speaking on the BBC4 Today programme, Streeting said the main question was, ‘where’s the prime minister?’.

“If he’s got an hour of his time to sit with Boris Johnson and discuss gongs for cronies and peerages in the House of Lords he should have an hour at least to negotiate an end to these terrible strikes,” said Streeting.

Junior doctors in England previously rejected a 5% pay offer from the government, which represented a real terms pay-cut.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, BMA Co-Chair Vivek Trivedi said the union were up for negotiations and questioned if the government ‘understand but simply don’t care’ about the effects pay erosion is having on NHS staff.

“We were looking at deals with the government when we were negotiating with them a month or so ago, and those deals could span over a number of years, which we are happy to entertain and want to.

“But when the government put down an offer of 5% and refused to go past that, when inflation is more than 10% and that would mean it’s another real-terms pay cut, it shows one of two things; they either don’t understand the impact of continued pay erosion on morale and retention in the workforce, or they do understand, but they simply don’t care.”

In Scotland, junior doctors rejected a recent pay offer of a 14.5% uplift over two years. The union has announced further strike dates on 12-15 July.

It came after an up-to-date calculation based on new inflation figures showed that junior doctor pay has now fallen in real terms by 28.5% for foundation year doctors since 2008.

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

(Photo credit: Sky News / YouTube screenshot)

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

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