Consultants in England will strike on September 19 and 20 if the Government continues to “refuse to agree to pay talks” and present the profession with a credible offer, it has been announced.
The BMA said that following a two-day strike in July, it has once again written to the Health Secretary Steve Barclay to invite him to discuss pay and reform of the doctors’ pay review body to end the industrial action which has hit the NHS.
Consultants in England are already planning to take industrial action on August 24 and 25.
Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chairman said: “It is now 133 days since the Secretary of State last met with us, demonstrating the Government’s complete disregard for the expertise and value of consultants, and the very future of the health service and its patients.
“We are once again appealing to the Health Secretary to return to the table and discuss both pay and reform of the rigged pay review process, so that we can reach a point where strikes are not necessary.
“Consultants will go out on strike at the end of this month, and for a further two days in September – demonstrating our resolve and clearly signalling to government that we’re in this for the long haul.
“However, neither of these strikes need to take place at all if the Government drops its intransigent position.”
Dr Sharma added: “The Prime Minister has blamed the record waiting lists in the NHS on staff taking a stand for their pay and conditions – a claim that has backfired spectacularly.
“Waiting lists were rising steadily due to the Government’s underfunding of the NHS and were at a record high before any industrial action started and even before the pandemic.
“He says that everyone must play their part to bring the waiting list down but his refusal to negotiate a deal that would ensure the NHS can recruit and retain doctors to address the current workforce crisis is the biggest barrier to achieving this.
“No consultant wants to take strike action but unless we take a stand, we risk losing our most experienced doctors, putting the very future of the NHS at risk.
“It’s not too late to avert these strikes and we call upon the Health Secretary to meet with us urgently.”