Doctors are waiting to hear whether the Government will enter talks facilitated by the conciliation service Acas in a bid to end the bitter dispute over junior doctors’ pay.
Acas said it is “well prepared and ready to help” as the British Medical Association (BMA) urged ministers to get round the table to try to break the deadlock between the parties.
It comes as around 47,000 junior doctors enter the third day of strike action in England.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters in Belfast he wanted to find a “reasonable compromise” with junior doctors.
Chairman of the BMA council, Professor Philip Banfield, said: “In the face of a constant refusal from the Health Secretary to agree to further talks and put forward a credible offer which could bring an end to the dispute, we believe that working with Acas provides the most realistic chance of a successful outcome to the negotiations.
“The BMA has no preconditions to talks and has consistently sought to negotiate with the Government.
“It takes both sides of a dispute to want to find a solution and we urge the Health Secretary to show the same willingness that we have and make himself available and open to talks facilitated by Acas.”
Hospital bosses have expressed concern about keeping patients safe as they struggle to secure cover for overnight junior doctor shifts during strikes.
And the health service’s top doctor, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, also warned on Tuesday that the situation in the NHS will “become more challenging each day this strike progresses”.
Tour guide wage
Speaking at a picket, one person said they had joined the strikes because they were shocked to find out how little junior doctors earn.
Gillian Lewis said: “When I looked into it further, what I discovered was I earn more than a junior doctor and I’m just a tour guide.”
These payslips captured 22 years apart demonstrate the profession’s plight pretty clearly:
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