Junior doctor pay talks collapse in just an hour as militant medics refuse to negotiate
- Representatives from the British Medical Association told Health Secretary Steve Barclay they would be unwilling to accept less than a 35 per cent pay rise
- Demands also include free parking, pay rise linked to inflation and no exam fees
- Whitehall sources described demands as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unaffordable’
Pay talks between junior doctors and the government collapsed 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 be unwilling to accept anything less than a 35 per cent pay rise.
They also demanded free car parking, the abolition of exam fees and a guarantee that future pay rises would be linked to inflation.
Whitehall sources described the red lines as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unaffordable’ 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 last week secured an improved offer of a 5 per cent pay rise and one-off bonus worth up to £3,789 following intensive talks.
They had agreed a confidentiality clause while the talks were ongoing but sources say the BMA even refused to engage on those terms.
Representatives from the British Medical Association told health secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) they would be unwilling to accept anything less than a 35 per cent pay rise
Mr Barclay told the doctors to go away and ‘reflect’ on how they wish to proceed, adding that there is no point in further talks until they are willing to give ground.
The BMA last night refused to comment on the break down of the talks, sparking fears of further industrial action.
Over 175,000 appointments and procedures were cancelled last week when medics doctors staged a three day walkout, including from A&E and maternity and cancer wards.
NHS England said around 28,700 doctors below the rank of consultant were absent from work as a result of industrial action each day.
Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, described the strike as ‘hugely disruptive for patient care’ and urged the government and BMA to bring the dispute to an end.
Robert Laurenson, co-chair of the BMA’s junior 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, last week told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘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 is just what I mean in that it is disappointing it has taken Steve Barclay so long to get to the negotiating table.
‘I only hope that he does come with good faith and a mandate to negotiate.’