Junior doctors' strike: Health leader calls for Acas help with talks

Junior doctors' strike: Health leader calls for Acas help with talks

Baku, April 11, AZERTAC

The government and doctors' unions must call in conciliation service Acas for talks ahead of the "extremely worrying" strikes this week, a health chief says.

Junior doctors in England will stage a four-day walkout from Tuesday - potentially the most disruptive in NHS history.

The NHS Confederation's Matthew Taylor told the BBC some 350,000 appointments and operations could be cancelled.

The strike is part of a bitter pay dispute and follows action last month.

The British Medical Association wants a 35% pay rise for junior doctors. It says the increase would make up for 15 years of below-inflation wage rises which has caused a recruitment and retention crisis.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said on Saturday the demand was "unrealistic" and out of step with pay settlements in other parts of the public sector, but the BMA said Mr Barclay was yet to put a serious offer on the table.

The strike involving thousands of doctors is due to take place from 07:00 BST on Tuesday until 07:00 on Saturday, with walkouts across both planned and emergency care.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Taylor, whose body represents health service trusts, said the government and unions needed to call in mediators to help advance the talks.

"It's depressing that there seems to be no movement at all from the two sides of this dispute over the last few days," Mr Taylor said.

"We should consider asking the government and the trade unions to call in Acas, the conciliation service, to provide some basis for negotiations, because if anything the positions seem to have hardened over the last couple of days."

He said an intervention from the public body was needed to avoid further strikes.

Mr Taylor also described the impact of thousands of junior doctors striking as "enormous".

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