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Government explores mediation with junior doctors’ committee

Both parties have agreed a preferred mediator - the union and the government will now begin the process of engaging with them

The BMA junior doctors’ committee and government have mutually agreed to explore mediation, a significant step forward which could ultimately end strike action by doctors in training.

Both parties have agreed a preferred mediator. The union and the government will now begin the process of engaging with them.

Ending strike action will allow doctors in training to focus on patient care and consolidate the government’s recent historic progress on waiting lists – with the latest data showing the biggest six-month reduction in over 10 years outside of the pandemic.

NHS consultants have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of a revised offer from the government in a major breakthrough which brought an end to their industrial dispute.

That deal will help address the gender pay gap in medicine, and also gives consultants more clarity on their pay progression arrangements. It also provides consultants with more confidence in the review body that advises government on rates of pay for doctors and dentists.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:  

“As Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my duty is to patients and I want to pursue all avenues to resolve the dispute with the BMA junior doctors committee.

“This will ensure they can focus on delivering the highest quality care and help consolidate our recent progress on waiting lists.

“I am pleased the BMA have agreed to explore mediation and I am hopeful that it will provide a way forward”.

The government has already given doctors in training a pay rise of up to 10.3% last financial year through the pay review body process and made clear that further investment was available to resolve the dispute. 

The government is undertaking a wider programme of work to support doctors. Last month, NHS England set out various measures to improve postgraduate doctors’ working lives following months of engagement with the Department of Health and Social Care.

It has pledged to enhance choice and flexibility with rotas, while reducing payroll errors and the financial burden of paying course fees upfront. NHS England is also working with partners to consider how it can improve the experience of doctors’ rotations in postgraduate training.

Moving forward, the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan will support the NHS to address existing vacancies and meet the challenges of a growing and ageing population by training, recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands more staff over the next 15 years - backed by more than £2.4 billion in government investment.

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