Junior doctors begin second day of pre-election strikes — despite fears walkout is an ‘own goal’

JUNIOR doctors begin the second day of their pre-election strike today — despite fears the walkout is an “own goal”.

Opponents say the five-day protest achieves nothing as ministers cannot negotiate and it will only frustrate whichever party wins power.

Junior doctors have kicked off their second day of pre-election strikes

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Junior doctors have kicked off their second day of pre-election strikesCredit: PA

British Medical Association doctors have downed tools until Tuesday, with the 11th strike bringing the total to 44 days of industrial action since March last year.

Tory Health Secretary Victoria Atkins branded the timing irresponsible and warned it will harm patients, while Labour counterpart Wes Streeting urged the BMA to call off the strike.

One BMA source said: “I cannot understand what the strike is hoping to achieve.

“There is no government to negotiate with.”

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Another added: “Strategically, it’s the wrong decision, like an own goal.

“They should call off this strike, agree to meet the new ministerial team and see if they can salvage a deal.”

Strike leaders have welcomed the prospect of negotiating with Labour over pay and said the party appears to have “a willingness to try”.

Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer said on Thursday: “What we will do is ensure on day one we start the discussion.”

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NHS England’s chief medical officer, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “This new round of strike action will again hit the NHS very hard.

Warmer weather can lead to additional pressure on services at a time when demand is already high.”

Call off the strike and let’s do a deal – Wes Streeting tells junior doctors

Heat health alerts are in place across England this week with temperatures topping 30C in some areas.

Warm weather increases pressure on hospitals as people fall prey to dehydration and heat exhaustion, and face a higher risk of sudden heart, lung and kidney problems.

While the weather will cool slightly during the next five days, NHS bosses say the damage has likely already been done.

‘THIS WAS ONLY EVER POLITICAL’

HEALTH Secretary Victoria Atkins said in May that the BMA’s decision to strike in the last days of the general election campaign showed the walkouts are political.

The junior doctors’ committee is seen to be left wing and opposed to the Conservative Party – but claim they would not go any easier on a Labour government.

When it announced the latest strike last month, the committee’s leaders said: “When we entered mediation we did so under the impression that we had a functioning government that would soon be making an offer.

“Clearly no offer is now forthcoming.”

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the choice of dates was a “highly cynical tactic”.

She wrote on X: “Announcing this during an election and on Labour’s health day shows this was only ever political and not about patients or staff.”