02.03.2024

Health Secretary Steve Barclay blasts striking doctors in England for harming patients

Steve Barclay has savaged striking junior doctors in England for harming patients and wasting NHS cash as Scottish medics crowed about securing a ‘record’ 12.4 per cent pay deal.

The Health Secretary said last night the latest walkout had cost ‘huge sums’, which could have been better spent on the front line tackling huge waiting lists.

More than 61,000 hospital appointments and operations were cancelled as a result of the four-day walkout, which ended on Tuesday, figures reveal. Junior doctors, who are demanding a 35 per cent pay rise, refused to deliver any care during this period – even in emergencies.

It came as the British Medical Assocation yesterday announced that junior doctors in Scotland had overwhelmingly voted to accept a ‘record’ pay offer from the Scottish government.

Union chiefs crowed that they had ‘demonstrated our power’ by securing a 12.4 per cent wage hike and a guarantee that pay would increase in line with inflation until at least 2026/27.

Steve Barclay demands that doctors end their strikes and stop harming patients. He is pictured in Parliament Square in London, July 19

Steve Barclay demands that doctors end their strikes and stop harming patients. He is pictured in Parliament Square in London, July 19

A protester holds a placard which states 'I'm a doctor, get me out of here', during the demonstration outside Downing Street in March earlier this year

A protester holds a placard which states ‘I’m a doctor, get me out of here’, during the demonstration outside Downing Street in March earlier this year

More than four in five junior doctors who took part in the BMA Scotland ballot voted to accept the offer (81.64 per cent), with a turnout of 71.24 per cent.

Mr Barclay said: ‘Yet more appointments and procedures have been postponed as a result of the latest BMA strike action. Not only has this action potentially harmed patients, but it has cost the NHS huge sums which could be spent on the front line to help tackle waiting lists.

‘We are giving first-year doctors in training a 10.3 per cent uplift, and an average annual pay rise of 8.8 per cent. This pay award is final so I urge the BMA to call an end to this needless disruption.’

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