Junior doctor strikes "most dangerous" industrial action NHS has ever seen, says Bedford health director

But British Medical Association says NHS trusts were given “adequate notice” to put plans in place
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Junior doctors’ upcoming strikes are the “most dangerous industrial action plans” that the NHS has ever seen, a borough council meeting heard.

Sarah Stanley, Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Integrated Care Board (ICB) place link director for Bedford borough, made this claim during Wednesday’s Health and Wellbeing Board (December 13).

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for NHS junior doctors in England to take strike action for three days in December and six days in January.

LONDON, UK - July 2021: NHS National health service logo with a stethoscope.LONDON, UK - July 2021: NHS National health service logo with a stethoscope.
LONDON, UK - July 2021: NHS National health service logo with a stethoscope.

These walkouts will be from 7am on Wednesday 20 December to 7am on Saturday 23 December, and from 7am on Wednesday 3 January to 7am on Tuesday 9 January.

“The industrial action is going to hit us quite hard and we were hoping to avoid that,” Ms Stanley said.

She added that the junior doctors’ 35 per cent pay claim was “unreasonable and very unrealistic”.

“We’re currently discussing derogations with them about things that they have to commit to, so cancer work [for example],” she said.

Ms Stanley said the industrial action would reduce the NHS to “Christmas Day service” for two weeks.

“Quite a few medical directors have written unprofessional behaviour letters to the BMA to try and ask them to be a bit more reasonable,” Ms Stanley said.

A BMA spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the government can still avert the strikes by putting forward a “credible offer”, adding that NHS trusts were given “adequate notice” to plan for cover.

“Junior doctors have seen their pay fall by 26 per cent since 2008/09, and therefore it would take a 35 per cent uplift to correct this,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s important to note that the BMA is not asking for a 35 per cent uplift in one go.”