Yesterday the British Medical Association (BMA) announced that its junior doctor members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action.
The action, which will include all doctors under consultant level, will last for 72 hours.
BMA’s deputy chair of council, Dr Emma Runswick, told BBC Breakfast: “Junior doctors in this country have faced a cumulative 26% pay cut since 2008 in real terms.
“We’ve got junior doctors earning as little as £14 an hour and we would like to reverse those pay cuts to prevent staff leaving the NHS and to make sure that we can provide the care that patients deserve.
“There is going to be disruption through strike action.
“The system we are using will allow senior colleagues – consultants and specialists and GPs – to cover urgent emergency and critical care.
“But hospitals will have to plan to cancel a variety of different non-urgent appointments and procedures in order to make sure that care remains safe during strike action.
“Unfortunately, that’s the only option we’ve got.
“We’ve been warning this government since July that we were keen to see action on pay – we told them we were balloting in October and they’ve known that this was coming for a long time – [there has been] every opportunity to prevent strike action by doctors and yet they’ve chosen not to.”
Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust,
Mr Hulme told LBC radio: “Clearly this is a significant shift in the industrial action now involving doctors, previously obviously nurses and paramedics.
“So it will mean that we will be in a position of cancelling an awful lot of our elective (planned) care.”
He added: “We won’t know exactly which doctors will come in on the day, they’re not mandated to inform us whether or not they’re going to strike so it’ll be an hour-by-hour assessment of risk, placing those doctors who come in into our highest risk areas, which will probably be those sort of 24/7 services of maternity, ICU, A&E, critical care and others.
“But that will mean that we won’t be able to provide most of our outpatients and our planned or elective operations.”
Health Minister Maria Caulfield appeared on BBC this morning and said junior doctors’ pay demands are “unrealistic” and claimed that their strike action will “put patients at risk”.
This claim is debunked and shredded in a new film by Peter Stefanovic.
He shared the video and wrote: “This mornings @BBCBreakfast interview with the Health Minister on strike action by Junior doctors was an absolute disgrace For the Junior doctors who sacrificed so much to keep us safe during the pandemic let’s put the record straight -they deserve better than this.”