Wage talks between young doctors stall within an hour because militant medics refuse to negotiate

Wage talks between young doctors stall within an hour because militant medics refuse to negotiate

  • Representatives from the British Medical Association have told Health Secretary Steve Barclay they are not prepared to accept a pay rise of less than 35 per cent.
  • Demands include free parking, pay rise linked to inflation and no exam fees
  • Sources in Whitehall described demands as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘prohibitive’

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Wage talks between junior doctors and the government broke down after less than an hour yesterday after militant medics refused to negotiate.

Representatives from the British Medical Association told health secretary Steve Barclay they would not be prepared to accept anything less than a 35 per cent pay rise.

They also demanded free parking, the abolition of exam fees and a guarantee that future wage increases would be linked to inflation.

Whitehall sources described the red lines as “unreasonable” and “prohibitive” and said it showed the doctors were “playing politics” and “looking for a fight” – not a negotiated settlement.

Unions representing nurses, paramedics, midwives and physiotherapists were given an enhanced offer of a 5 per cent pay rise and a one-off bonus worth up to £3,789 last week after intense talks.

They had agreed a confidentiality clause while the talks were underway, but sources say the BMA even refused to budge on those terms.

British Medical Association representatives told Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) they would not be prepared to accept anything less than a 35 per cent pay rise

British Medical Association representatives told Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) they would not be prepared to accept anything less than a 35 per cent pay rise

Mr Barclay told the doctors to go away and ‘think’ about how they want to proceed, adding that there is no point in continuing to talk until they are ready to give in.

The BMA declined to comment on the breakdown of talks last night, raising fears of further industrial action.

More than 175,000 appointments and procedures were canceled last week as doctors staged a three-day strike, including from A&E and maternity and cancer departments.

NHS England said around 28,700 doctors below the rank of consultant were absent from work every day due to industrial action.

Sir Julian Hartley, CEO of NHS Providers, representing NHS trusts, described the strike as ‘hugely disruptive to patient care’ and urged the government and BMA to end the dispute.

Robert Laurenson, co-chair of the BMA’s young doctors committee, had indicated that doctors would not accept a similar offer to nurses and paramedics – dismissing it as a ‘bad deal for NHS staff’.

Dr. Vivek Trivedi, the other co-chair, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program last week: ‘Our position has been that we are open to talk in good faith, meaningfully, at any time.

“We were ready to talk months ago. Our formal dispute started over 150 days ago and again, that’s exactly what I’m saying because it’s disappointing that it’s taken so long for Steve Barclay to come to the negotiating table.

“I just hope he comes in good faith and a mandate to negotiate.”

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