Dpctpr strikes. Screenshot from youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKJsQYgE5P4

Junior doctors in England, including those at Salford Royal, are to go on the longest strike in NHS history later this month and early next year, after talks with the government broke down.

The British Medical Association (BMA) says it will ask members to walk out in December just before Christmas and again in January for days at a time.

The first strike action will take place during the three days from 7am on Wednesday 20 December to 7am on Saturday 23 December and the second walkout over six days from 7am on Wednesday 3 January until 7am on Tuesday 9 January.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi commented in a joint statement: “We have been clear from the outset of these talks that we needed to move at pace and if we did not have a credible offer, we would be forced to call strikes.

“After five weeks of intense talks, the Government was unable to present a credible offer on pay by the deadline.”

Dr Robert and Dr Trivedi further stated: “Instead, we were offered an additional 3 per cent, unevenly spread across doctors’ grades, which would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year. It is clear the Government is still not prepared to address the real-terms pay cut doctors have experienced since 2008.”

The BMA and ministers have been locked in a dispute for a month and so far have struggled to reach an agreement, with Victoria Atkins appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in November and tasked with ending the dispute.

The doctors added: “The approach from Ms Atkins and the team has been productive but ultimately that alone is not sufficient to make up for 15 years of declining pay. A year after our dispute started, we are still too far from turning the tide on plummeting pay, morale, and retention of doctors.

“Rather than waste more time and money and have further disruption to patient care, the Health Secretary needs to make a credible offer now.”

Dr Julia Grace Patterson said in a blog post: “Our junior doctors are on the NHS frontline every single day caring for patients.

“This winter they’ll be at the forefront of the fight for the NHS too. Without a properly supported NHS workforce, we cannot hope for a properly functioning NHS.”

Junior doctors have been striking all year across NHS hospitals in Greater Manchester. The last one took place for 72 hours from 7am on Monday 2 October until 7am on Thursday 5 October.

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