Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urges striking NHS staff in Bucks and beyond to accept latest pay offer

NHS staff have been taking industrial action over the past nine months
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged striking junior doctors and consultants, in Buckinghamshire and elsewhere, to accept the Government’s latest pay offer.

Speaking at Milton Keynes Hospital this morning (15 August), the Prime Minister called on NHS staff still striking to accept the latest offer tabled by the Government.

Services across the country were affected by a four-day strike, carried out by junior doctors attached to the British Medical Association, between 11 and 15 August.

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Consultant doctors and hospital-based dentists will be taking strike action from 7am on Thursday (17 August) until 7am on Saturday.

The Conservative Leader defended the Government’s latest pay offer to doctors, which the PM claims was provided by an independent review body. He claims that doctors would receive a nine per cent increase, if they accepted the latest deal.

Health minister Will Quince, told Good Morning Britain, that negations on pay are over, such is the Government’s satisfaction with its current offer.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to staff and patients during a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to staff and patients during a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to staff and patients during a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital on August 15, 2023 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Speaking in Bucks, Mr Sunak said: “We’ve now settled pay negotiations with the vast majority of workers in the public sector, and in the NHS in particular, over a million NHS workers accepted the Government’s pay offer. That includes nurses, and many others, half a dozen unions in the NHS staff council recommended that their members accepted that offer, and they have. I’m very grateful to them for that.

"A nine per cent pay increase for a typical junior doctor. That is a larger pay increase, than almost every other workforce in the public sector. Now, we’ve been very clear, we think that is fair, we’ve accepted it in full, and now as I’ve said previously, we’d urge junior doctors and consultants to accept the recommendations of an independent body.

"The Government is backing the NHS with record funding, after I became Prime Minister. Fourteen billion pounds for health and social care. The first ever long-term workforce plan for the NHS. In the 75 years of [its] history the NHS has never had a long-term workforce plan to make sure that we’re investing in training enough doctors and nurses in the future.

"For the first time we’re going to do that under my leadership.”

In late June, the biggest nursing union, The Royal College of Nursing, was unable to secure enough votes to strike against Government pay.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairmen Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said in a statement during the strike: “This Government and the Health Secretary have grown increasingly intransigent, belligerent and unwilling to talk about how we can end this dispute, and indeed are now expending more energy on making spurious claims about the reasons for our legitimate campaign than they are about settling the dispute.

“Steve Barclay has singularly failed to make any significant steps towards ending this dispute and, as he continues to posture and pontificate, the waiting list goes up and more patients see their treatment delayed.

“What he and the Prime Minister should be doing is getting back round the table with us to find a way of ending this dispute.”