Health

Junior doctors strike to go ahead on 12 January

Demonstrators at a rally and protest march for junior doctors in London Image copyright PA

Talks to resolve the junior doctors dispute will "not prevent" strike action on 12 January, conciliation service Acas has said.

A spokesman said talks between the British Medical Association and NHS Employers had been "constructive".

However, the two sides "are not able to prevent the industrial action planned".

The strike begins at 08:00 GMT across England and could affect thousands of NHS patients as junior doctors will only provide emergency care.

Earlier this week the BMA announced three spells of strike action across England, after negotiations with the government ended with no resolution.

Issues being disputed by the BMA and NHS include weekend pay.

The strike details announced are:

  • 08:00 Tuesday 12 January to 08:00 Wednesday 13 January (emergency care will be staffed)
  • 08:00 Tuesday 26 January to 08:00 Thursday 28 January (emergency care will be staffed)
  • 08:00 to 17:00 Wednesday 10 February (full walk-out)

Acas has confirmed that talks between the BMA and NHS bosses will continue next week.

Focus on pay

The latest round of negotiations focused on the offer made by the government in November, which would see an 11% rise in basic pay.

This would be offset by plans to cut the number of weekend hours junior doctors can claim extra 'unsocial hours' pay for.

Current rules mean that working between 7pm and 7am Monday to Friday, or any hours worked during Saturday and Sunday, attracts a premium rate of pay.

This would change with the new government proposals.

Image copyright Getty Images

Junior doctors would receive time and a half for any hours worked between 10pm and 7am, with time and a third being paid for any hours worked between 7pm and 10pm on Saturdays or Sundays.

On-call availability allowances - ranging from 2-6% of basic pay, would also be paid to junior doctors, with additional payment for work resulting from being on call.

The government said the changes are need to create more seven-day services, but the BMA warned that they could lead to doctors being over-worked because safeguards to keep a lid on excessive hours are being weakened.

A series of protests were held across the country and 98% of BMA members who took part in the ballot backed strike action.

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