Junior doctors across the UK have voted to continue with another six months of industrial action as they continue to urge the government to come up with a serious plan to address pay.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has confirmed that 98% of its junior doctor membership voted to continue with the industrial action that brought the UK healthcare industry to a standstill throughout the winter of 2023 and early 2024.

The BMA has said that 62% of its membership took part in the vote which calls for strikes starting from 3 April to 19 September 2024. Last year saw the first-ever joint strike action between senior consultants and junior doctors in the organisation’s history, alongside strikes from UK nurses and midwives staff in Northern Ireland.

The main dispute revolves around pay, with pay rates for junior doctors and consultants having fallen by more than 35% in real terms over the last 15 years, when compared with the rate of inflation.

Junior doctors committee co-chairs Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi said: “It has now been a year since we began strike action. That is a year of strikes too many. The Government believed it could ignore, delay, and offer excuses long enough that we would simply give up. That attitude has now led to the NHS wasting £3bn covering the strikes. This is more than double the cost of settling our whole claim.

“As we see in the results of today’s ballot, delaying tactics will not work: doctors are still determined to see their pay cuts reversed, and they are willing to keep striking another six months to achieve that.”

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Junior doctors comprise approximately 50% of the National Health Service’s (NHS) staff, meaning that ongoing strikes will likely lead to significant delays in appointments and surgeries. In the BMA vote, only approximately 2.3% of members voted against strike action.

Laurenson and Trivedi added: “No doctor wants to be on strike for a second longer than they have to. But it took us 15 years of declining pay to get here. Today’s re-ballot shows that doctors understand that reversing this means being in the struggle for the long haul. We ask the Health Secretary to come forward as soon as possible with a new offer – and make sure not a single further strike day need be called.”