Junior doctors call five-day strike just before election

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins accused the BMA of a “highly cynical tactic” by calling the strike during the election campaign.

“I am in politics to help patients not trade unions. The Conservative government has taken tough decisions to keep public spending down to bear down on inflation, which is now back to normal.”

Strike action by junior doctors has also been taking place in Northern Ireland with another walkout planned in early June.

Walkouts in Wales are on hold as talks take place.

Junior doctors have not been on strike in Scotland after they accepted a pay offer from the government there.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said the news of fresh strike action was a “worrying escalation” of the dispute.

“This strike will inevitably hit patients hard,” she said.

“As always, trust leaders and their teams will do everything they can to protect patient safety.

“They will spend countless hours preparing for the walkout, which includes cancelling and rescheduling appointments. This is time they would prefer to spend improving patient care and tackling sky-high waiting lists.”

Nearly 1.5 million appointments and operations have been cancelled because of strike action in the NHS in England at an estimated cost of £3bn.

Consultants, nurses and midwives alongside other non-medical staff have all accepted pay offers over the past 12 months in England.

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