Consultants and Junior Doctors in England Stage Joint Strike in History of NHS

Consultants and Junior Doctors in England Stage Joint Strike in History of NHS

Consultants and junior doctors in England are participating in the first-ever joint strike in the history of the National Health Service (NHS). Consultants began their strike at 07:00 BST and will be joined by junior doctors on Wednesday. The two-day strike by consultants and the three-day strike by junior doctors mark an escalation of the ongoing pay dispute between the government and doctors.

During the strike, emergency care will be covered, but the NHS has warned that patients may still be in danger. It is advised that people needing emergency care should use accident and emergency units as normal or call 999. For other health concerns, 111 or GP services should be used, but they may be disrupted as some junior doctors work as GP trainees. Routine services, including non-emergency operations and appointments, are expected to be significantly disrupted.

Consultants will provide “Christmas Day” cover during their 48-hour walkout, with emergency services staffed and some basic level of cover on the wards. When junior doctors join the strike, a similar arrangement will be in place for them. Junior doctors account for nearly half of all NHS doctors, from recently graduated medics to those with up to 10 years of experience.

The strikes have caused a significant amount of disruption, with hospitals reporting that up to half of their normal levels of activity have been put off. Nearly one million appointments and treatments, including some cancer care, have been postponed since the beginning of the strikes in December. The scale of disruption has raised concerns about the potential harm to patients.

The two sides in the dispute are far apart, with the health secretary not having engaged in pay talks with British Medical Association (BMA) leaders for over 100 days. The government has offered a pay rise of 6% to consultants and an average of 8.8% to junior doctors, while the BMA has called for a 35% increase for junior doctors and a pay rise above inflation for consultants. The health secretary has also indicated that he is considering introducing minimum service levels in hospitals during strikes.

Source: BBC News

– Consultants: Senior doctors who have completed their specialist training and are responsible for the diagnosis and management of complex medical cases.
– Junior doctors: Doctors who are in the early stages of their medical careers, typically after graduating from medical school and before becoming a consultant.
– National Health Service (NHS): The publicly funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom, providing medical services to all residents regardless of their ability to pay.

– BBC News (

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