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Majority of the public back government restarting pay negotiations with doctors, poll shows

THE majority of the public want the Tories to restart pay negotiations with doctors and end their bitter pay dispute, a poll has shown.

Seven in 10 adults in England said they wanted the government to reopen pay negotiations with doctors, with 63 per cent calling on ministers to settle the row with a higher pay offer.

The survey, conducted on 1,765 adults in England by Walnut research agency on behalf of the British Medical Association (BMA), came as consultants and junior doctors staged their first ever joint strike in NHS history today.

The walkout represents a major escalation in the bitter row and more strikes have been scheduled for later in the year.

Fresh talks between Whitehall officials and consultants over the weekend have meanwhile been hailed as a “significant step forward by the government” by the BMA.

But negotiations between junior doctors and the government broke down in May, with conciliation service Acas saying it stands “ready to help” facilitate talks.

Dr Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee, said: “It is beyond doubt, from this survey, that patients and the public want to see the government working with doctors to bring an end to industrial action.”

BMA junior doctor committee co-chairs, Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, said in a statement: “Politicians should listen to public opinion as it could not be clearer — they want the talks to reopen and so do we.”

Health secretary Steve Barclay said the average junior doctor will get a 8.8 per cent pay rise. Consultants will receive a 6 per cent pay rise alongside “generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask,” he said.


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