JUNIOR doctors returned to the picket lines on Wednesday as part of a week-long industrial action over pay. The doctor’s aim is to receive a full pay restoration from the government, reversing more than 26% of real term pay cuts. 

A first year junior doctor’s current starting wage is £14 per hour in the UK in their first year, according to the BMA. The doctor's union is demanding a 35 per cent pay rise, which would see the starting wage increase to £19 per hour.

The Health Secretary has stated that BMA’s demands for a 35 per cent pay rise are “not fair or reasonable”.

BMA junior doctor committee co-chair Dr Vivek Trivedi said: "The reality is that the Health Secretary has had every opportunity to bring an end to the dispute. His decision to refuse to table a credible offer, indeed he has not tabled a single offer so far, means that this action is solely due to this government’s repeated inaction. We would still be willing to suspend strike action this week if the Secretary of State makes a credible offer that can be the basis of negotiation."

Unions have not agreed to introduce further safeguards during the strikes, known as derogations. NHS bosses have expressed concerns that the strikes could put patient safety at risk.

NHS Somerset have said they are committed to maintaining patient care as much as possible during the strike action, however some planned appointments and procedures may be postponed. Anyone who will be affected by this will be contacted. 

On Wednesday the BMA called for the government to get around the negotiating table to settle the dispute.