JUNIOR doctors have given Rishi Sunak one last chance to avert the forthcoming planned strikes in England, by committing to a pay deal. With a week until the strikes begin, junior doctors say the prime minister only needs to make a commitment in writing to a path to pay restoration that could be implemented should he form the next government.

Pointing out that more money has been spent on strikes than resolving the claim would have cost, they say that Sunak’s attitude has made “zero financial sense”.

In the letter sent to Sunak  on Wednesday 19 June, the British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors committee co-chairs, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi,  point out that waiting lists have been rising in recent months while no strikes have taken place, even as the prime minister attempted to blame strikes for his failure to reduce them.

Despite this approach from the prime minister, the junior doctors have offered him “a final chance to do the right thing and avert the upcoming strike action.”

“We are not asking for the world”, the letter continues. “A doctor currently starts on £15.53 per hour and we are asking for that to be restored to what a doctor was worth in 2008, which would be £21.58 per hour.” They remind the prime minister that the process could happen over time rather than in one go.

The co-chairs have offered to call off the strikes, currently planned for five days from the 27 June, if they get a commitment “in writing to a detailed pathway that will restore our pay in the form of a comprehensive deal that will be implemented if you are able to form the next Government.”

The prime minister is challenged to take this opportunity to deliver for patients and doctors, investing in the NHS and addressing the current staff retention crisis.

Planned strike dates in England are from 7am on 27 June to 7am on 2 July.

* Read the letter in full here.

* Source: British Medical Association