Junior hospital doctors in England were on strike for 72 hours from 14 to 17 June – their third strike since March in support of their pay campaign. Their trade union, the British Medical Association (BMA), has a mandate for further strikes – three days each month through the summer. It is re-balloting members during that time, in case further action is needed.
Hospital consultants are also voting on industrial action: the ballot closes on 27 June. If the ballot is successful, the BMA has announced two strike days on 20 and 21 July, when consultants, the most senior hospital doctors, will provide only emergency cover.
In Scotland an offer to junior doctors of 14.5 per cent over two years was decisively rejected. BMA members have voted for three days of strikes starting on 13 July.
The erosion of doctors’ pay has contributed to a staffing crisis in the NHS. Medical schools turn away highly qualified candidates, because of a government cap on British medical student numbers, though medical schools are allowed to recruit overseas students willy-nilly.
Like the nurses, doctors no longer put their trust in their pay review body, the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, as governments consistently ignore its recommendations.
• A longer and earlier version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk