Junior doctors in the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have said they will strike for the first time in the union’s history next month in a dispute over pay.
A ballot of training-grade doctors employed by NHS trusts in England in January saw 97.48% vote in favour of striking, on a 74.76% turnout.
“In return for this huge emotional, mental and physical toll they’ve been subjected to a decade of real-terms pay cuts totalling over 26%. Enough is enough.
“Our NHS is in an intolerable situation and junior doctors will not be taken for granted anymore. They are taking decisive action for their patients and for their own wellbeing.
“The blame for this lies solely with a complacent Government, seemingly content to let patient care suffer.
“The ball is firmly in the Government’s court. It must act now to negotiate a proper pay increase -part of a wider funding package for the NHS.
“Junior doctors are telling us that without change they will leave the NHS or leave the country entirely for better-paid medical jobs elsewhere. Our health service simply cannot afford for that to happen.”
The HCSA, which represents hospital doctors of all grades across the UK, balloted training-grade doctors employed by NHS trusts in England.
The union previously said 397 people out of 531 who were entitled to vote took part in the ballot.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We hugely value the work of junior doctors and we have been clear that supporting and retaining the NHS workforce is one of our main priorities.
“As part of a multi-year deal we agreed with the BMA, junior doctors’ pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20. We also introduced a higher pay band for the most experienced staff and increased rates for night shifts.
“The Health and Social Care Secretary has met with the BMA and other medical unions to discuss pay, conditions and workload.
“He’s been clear he wants to continue discussing how we can make the NHS a better place to work for all.”