Junior doctors to stage fresh four-day walkout despite Sunak saying negotiations over

Junior doctors in England are to stage a four-day walkout from August 11-15, the British Medical Association has said.

It is the fifth time junior medics will have taken industrial action in their pay dispute with the government.

They want a return to a salary equivalent to what they earned in 2008 – which is equivalent to a 35% rise.

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Earlier this month, the government said it had made a “final” pay offer to junior doctors and Rishi Sunak said there would be no more negotiation – but the BMA says it is “not for Rishi Sunak to decide that negotiations are over” without stepping in a room with the union.

Junior doctors will receive a 6% pay rise, plus £1,250 added to their salaries – equivalent to a raise of between 8.1% and 10.3% depending on previous pay packets.

“We will not negotiate again on this year’s settlements, and no amount of strikes will change our decision,” Mr Sunak said.

The most recent set of strikes will start at 7am on Friday 11 August and 7am on Tuesday 15 August.

Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, the co-chairs of the BMA’s junior doctor council, said: “It should never have got to the point where we needed to announce a fifth round of strike action. Our message today remains the same: act like a responsible government, come to the table to negotiate with us in good faith, and with a credible offer these strikes need not go ahead at all.

“The prime minister has told us that talks are over. But it is not for Rishi Sunak to decide that negotiations are over before he has even stepped in the room. This dispute will end only at the negotiating table. If the PM was hoping to demoralise and divide our profession with his actions, he will be disappointed.

“Consultants, along with our specialist and associate specialist colleagues, have covered crucial services during our strikes and those same consultants were also on their own picket lines last week. Mutual solidarity has been on display at hospital picket lines up and down the country: this is a profession united in its refusal to accept yet another pay cut.

“Junior doctors are not going anywhere however much government might wish we would. The facts have not changed: we have lost more than a quarter of our pay in fifteen years and we are here to get it back.”

Mr Sunak’s finality on pay offers came alongside dictations to other parts of the public sector, including the police, NHS and armed forces.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the rises would require around £5bn in cuts over the next two years.

This includes finding “efficiencies” and “reprioritisation” – which usually means cuts – although Downing Street said some of the money will come from “underspends”.

There have been calls from health service leaders to end the dispute after figures showed that industrial action in England over the last eight months led to 819,000 appointments, operations and procedures being postponed.

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