Junior doctors at Watford General Hospital are taking part in a national three-day strike over pay and working conditions.
The walkout by members of the British Medical Association (BMA) is the largest by doctors in the history of the NHS, with junior doctors making up roughly 40 per cent of the medical workforce.
The BMA is asking for a 35 per cent pay rise, with the association saying doctors’ real wages have dropped by 26 per cent since 2008 once inflation is taken into consideration.
In a statement, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said he wants to come to a fair settlement, but that the union’s demands are “eye-watering” and “completely unreasonable”.
He said: “The BMA’s demands for junior doctors’ pay are simply unaffordable. Since 2019/20, junior doctors have received a cumulative increase in pay of 8.2 per cent, meaning the average junior doctor progressing into Foundation Year 2 now earns around £46,000, when taking into account additional earnings like overtime.”
Junior doctors say they are at a breaking point, and that unless the NHS start paying their junior doctors more, fewer are likely to pursue a career with the NHS while others leave for the private sector or for other countries.