'Junior Doctors Are Not Being Unfair In Pay Demands,' Labour's Wes Streeting Says

But the shadow health secretary said he did not support the strike.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting.
Dominic Lipinski via Getty Images

Labour’s Wes Streeting said junior doctors are not being “unfair or unreasonable” in their demands over pay.

The shadow health secretary said he did not support their fresh round of strikes but agreed they were making a “fair argument”.

Junior doctors in England announced further industrial action after talks with ministers broke down in a bitter row over pay.

A 96-hour walkout will take place for shifts starting between 6.59am on Tuesday 11 April and 6.59am on Saturday 15 April 2023.

The British Medical Association [BMA] said health secretary Steve Barclay had failed to make any “credible offer”.

Streeting told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “I don’t want the strike to go ahead. I do think the junior doctors are making a fair argument around their pay and the fact that pay has not kept up with inflation.

“I think the headline pay demand they’re making, I don’t think is achievable overnight - and I’ve been honest with them about that.

“But I don’t want to see the strikes happen. I want to see the government come to a compromise so strikes do not need to go ahead.”

Streeting has previously butted heads with the BMA after he claimed he had been “treated like a heretic” over his ideas for improving patient access.

The shadow health secretary vowed to take on those holding back the NHS and highlighted the “appalling” levels of access to GPs.

However, he claimed this had sparked anger from some unions including the BMA - which represents doctors.

Health secretary Barclay said the BMA placed an “unreasonable” pre-condition on talks of a 35% pay rise.

However, the BMA disputed this and said it was an opening offer - not a precondition.


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