Consultant Doctors Could Pause UK Strikes

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Consultant doctors in the UK have said they will pause strikes for four weeks if the government agrees to talks with the conciliation service Acas.

As per a report from The Times, consultant doctors have offered an ‘olive branch’ in the dispute and have said that they will pause their strikes for several weeks until November providing ministers agree to discussions, with them calling for negotiations to be handled via the conciliation service Acas.

Senior medical and NHS leaders have urged the government to accept the offer from the British Medical Association and end strikes before the winter, which is always the busiest time for the health service in the UK given the colder weather and the greater chance of illness with it.

What has the BMA said about doctor strikes?

In a letter sent to the British prime minister Rishi Sunak, the British Medical Association’s consultant leader, Dr Vishal Sharma, has said the union is “willing not to call further strikes for four weeks to facilitate negotiations taking place”.

The BMA has given the Department of Health a deadline of 3 November in order to “reach a credible deal we can put to our members.”

Furthermore, Dr Sharma will meet a rally of striking doctors outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

He is set to say:

“They should be doing everything, right up until the last minute, to avert strike action. Our door has always been open, and that remains the case.

“We have not yet called further strikes beyond this week, and have given the government four weeks from today to enter formal talks and present us with a credible offer. We have also indicated that we are willing to involve Acas to conciliate a resolution.

“The ball is well and truly in the prime minister’s court. The government has run out of excuses not to negotiate in good faith. But they need to know that, if they fail to negotiate, we are not going anywhere.”

What else has been said about the doctor strikes?

Sir Julian Hartley, who is the chief executive of NHS Providers has also urged the government to take up the offer:

“Something has to give. We can’t go into another ‘full on’ winter with the threat of more strikes hanging over the NHS.

“We have said before that we would welcome all sides using an intermediary like Acas if that helps to break the deadlock.”

Meanewhile, Marina Glasgow, who is the chief conciliator at Acas said: “We have a team of experts who are well prepared and ready to help with the consultants and junior doctors’ disputes.”

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Written by

George Dagless

George is an experienced digital publisher covering both news and sport.