Junior doctors hail ‘positive meeting’ with Streeting

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2024

LONDON: Junior doctors in England held “collaborative talks” with the Health and Social Care Secretary, medics have said as they hailed a “positive first step” towards ending their long-running dispute over pay.

More negotiations are expected to take place next week, Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairmen of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Junior Doctors’ Committee have said. They said that there are no plans for more strike action “at the moment” as talks progress.

Health Secretary Wes Streeting said that the talks mark an “important reset moment” in relations between the Government and junior doctors in England. Mr Streeting said he was “optimistic” about the talks.

After the meeting, Dr Trivedi said: “It was a positive meeting, we were pleased to be able to meet the Secretary of State and his team so quickly after the General Election – it signifies the urgency that they’re placing on resolving this dispute which has already lasted 20 months.

“The meeting today was positive and we’ve already agreed to meet again next week with the Secretary of State to further discuss how we can progress.“Today we talked a little bit about some of the roadblocks that have prevented us from progressing so far, and how we can navigate through those to reach a resolution.

Dr Laurenson added: “This Secretary of State actually wanted to learn what was going wrong and why things were stalling, and we’re happy to have those conversations. “This meeting was definitely a positive step, but I don’t think we can place of value, or a certainty on how quickly things are going to take to resolve, or what might needs to happen to make things resolve. “This was definitely a collaborative talk, and I thinkit’s fair to say we have no plans at the moment to call for strike action.”

Dr Laurenson added: “There were talks about reform, and we’re interested to hear what that might pan out to be. This is a complex negotiation and it’s going to take some time.“This was a positive first step, but that’s all it was the first step. There’s much more meat that needs to be added to the bones before we’re going to be able to come out with any sort of agreement.”

He added: “Now it’s just down to the Government to be able to come up with a credible offer through the series of negotiations that we’re about to go into.Dr Trivedi added: “We didn’t come into this meeting expecting a resolution to our dispute – today we were hoping to be heard and to be listened to, which is what happened.

“And we hope to be able to build on that and continue in good faith, as we have always done, but does seem to be reciprocated now, then it does suggest that we will be able to reach a resolution.”