The BMA has written to NHS Employers leaders to ask them to agree to a move which may avert further strike action.
Junior doctors in England are set to strike for five days later this month after the Government failed to meet the deadline to put an improved pay offer on the table. The BMA had asked the Health Secretary to extend the current strike mandate for four weeks to allow for negotiations to continue in that time, avoiding the need for strike action and for progress to be made in finding a resolution to the pay dispute. Disappointingly, Victoria Atkins declined to agree to extending the mandate.
Now in a letter to Danny Mortimer, the Chief Executive of NHS Employers, the BMA Chair of Council, Professor Philip Banfield, has asked him to agree to the extension – something he can do on behalf of NHS employers in hospital trusts, and which would avoid, in hospitals, the disruption which the strike action causes.
In the letter, Professor Banfield writes, ‘In return for this agreement the BMA Junior Doctors Committee is prepared to cancel the planned strike action for 24th to 28th February, providing space for the government to negotiate with us during the next two weeks.’
If NHS Employers agrees to the request, it will afford the Health Secretary and Government officials more time to talk, and for the Government to present a credible offer to junior doctors in England, which if accepted would bring the current pay dispute to an end.