Arbitration service ready to step into talks to stop doctors’ strike

BMA consultant leaders today asked the Government to enter talks facilitated by the arbitration service ACAS in a bid to end their long-running pay dispute in England.

They said with no talks now for 190 days and three days joint strike action by consultant and junior doctors this week, the conciliatory service has indicated it is prepared to step in – if the Government is willing.

Further strike dates after a four-week pause are expected to be announced if no offer considered credible is forthcoming.

Dr Vishal Sharma

The ACAS move was signalled in a letter from BMA consultants committee chairman Dr Vishal Sharma to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Dr Sharma was due to address a rally of striking doctors outside the Conservative Party conference today (Tuesday) in Manchester.

Referring to the Government suggesting it would not talk to the BMA while strikes were called, he said this was a ridiculous position to take. ‘They should be doing everything, right up until the last minute, to avert strike action. Our door has always been open and that remains the case.’

Dr Sharma said: ‘The ball is well and truly in the Prime Minister’s court. The Government has run out of excuses not to negotiate in good faith. But they need to know that, if they fail to negotiate, we are not going anywhere.’

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