It is disappointing that junior doctors in Bucks will strike next week, before the Christmas holidays. The strike will have a significant impact on hospital services. There will be action from 7am on Wednesday 20 December to 7am on Saturday 23 December.
As the Health Secretary has said, junior doctors deserve our respect for everything they do but it is disappointing that the BMA junior doctors’ committee have chosen to walk away from pay negotiations and have declared new strikes. This will only result in more disruption for patients and extra pressure on NHS services as we enter the busy winter period.
I understand that the Government put forward an offer of a 3% increase for junior doctors on top of an average 8.8% pay rise for 2023-24 when the BMA broke off talks. The 35% pay offer demanded by the BMA junior doctors’ committee is wholly unrealistic during our current economic circumstances. I hope that the BMA will call off the strikes and return to the negotiating table.
Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust are seeking to keep as many services, in our hospitals, in our community sites and in people’s homes, operating as possible, including all emergency and essential services. Unfortunately, this will mean that they will have to postpone a large number of planned outpatient appointments and elective procedures. I am sorry that the strikes will affect so many people in this way.