HOSPITAL HELL Junior doctors launch their TENTH strike in just one year as thousands of medics take to picket lines for 5 days

JUNIOR doctors have launched their tenth strike in just one year.

Thousands of medics are set to take to the picket lines for five days in yet another walkout over pay.

Thousands of medics are set to take to the picket lines for five days
Thousands of medics are set to take to the picket lines for five daysCredit: EPA

Medical staff started their strike at 7am on Saturday in what will be the third longest yet.

It is expected to last until midnight on February 28, the British Medical Association said.

How much do junior doctors and qualified GPs earn?

Foundation Year 1 - £32,398

Foundation Year 2 - £37,303

Core Trainee 1-2 - £43,923

Core Trainee 3 - £55,329

Specialty Trainee 1-2 - £43,923

Specialty Trainee 3-5 - £55,329

Specialty Trainee 6-8 - £63,152

Salaried GP - £68,975 to £104,085

The union said it was forced to call for more industrial action after the Government "failed to meet the deadline to put an improved pay offer on the table".

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the next set of strike dates showed junior doctors are not "ready to be reasonable".

It comes amid calls from health chiefs for unions and ministers to settle the dispute.

Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: "The Government could have stopped these strikes by simply making a credible pay offer for junior doctors in England to begin reversing the pay cuts they have inflicted upon us for more than a decade.

"The same Government could have even accepted our offer to delay this round of strike action to give more space for talks - all we asked for in return was a short extension of our mandate to strike.

"The fact that ministers have chosen strike action over what could have been the end of this year's pay dispute is disappointing to say the least.

"All doctors are looking for is to reverse pay cuts and be paid the same, in real terms, as in 2008 - which looks like around £21 per hour instead of the current £15 per hour.

"This is the way to a better-staffed, more effective health service, and all the Government has to do to call off these strikes is come forward with a credible way of getting there.

It is the tenth strike since March 2023.

The walkout will mean the trainee medics have refused to work for 39 days in the past year – almost six weeks’ worth of labour.

More than 1.1million NHS appointments have already been cancelled because of junior doctors’ strikes alone.

The January walkout hit 19,000 appointments per day, meaning another 97,000 could be rescheduled due to this month’s strike.

Dr Robert Laurenson, of the BMA, said: "The glacial speed of progress with the Government is frustrating and incomprehensible. 

"We have made every effort to work with the Government in finding a fair solution to this dispute whilst trying to avoid strike action.

“Even now we are willing to put off these strikes to find a solution – it’s in the Health Secretary’s hands."

Junior doctors’ strike leader is no longer a junior doctor and cannot join the picket lines

Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, was registered as a fully qualified GP this month.

It means he cannot join the strikes he calls for, so won’t have to lose cash in future walkouts — and can now earn at least £70,000 per year in the NHS.

Tory MP Paul Bristow, from the Commons’ Health Committee, said: “These strikes cannot be led by someone who isn’t a junior doctor. 

“He has no skin in the game so he can prolong the strikes while still getting paid.”

Dr Laurenson, 29, has come under fire before for going on holiday during a strike last year and later saying he would go to work in Canada.

He was educated at the £46,566-a-year private Sevenoaks School in Kent and is a director at his family’s multi-million-pound investments firm.

Dr Luke Evans, a former GP and Tory MP, said: “I wonder if swapping from a trainee to a GP he himself will change his perspective given he is directly responsible for his patients? 

“The buck now stops with him. His patients are the ones who will, sadly, feel the brunt of this action.”

The British Medical Association said Dr Laurenson was a junior doctor when he was elected and will continue to serve as the juniors’ leader until October.

They added Dr Laurenson will not be working on strike days but refused to confirm if he will be taking paid or unpaid leave.

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