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Junior doctors in England agree to pay talks after three-day strike

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Junior doctors in England have agreed to formal talks with the government after a three-day strike this week in which more than 175,000 appointments and procedures had to be postponed, according to data published by NHS England.The postponements had to be made to protect emergency, critical and urgent care for patients as a result of the industrial action on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.On Friday night the Department of Health and Social Care said the British Medical Association had agreed to enter negotiations on the same terms as unions representing nurses, ambulance staff and other NHS workers in talks that concluded this week.Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, a membership body for organisations that commission and provide NHS services, said: “NHS leaders have been warning that the junior doctors strike would have the biggest impact on cancelled operations and appointments, but these figures show it has been more disruptive than all the other strikes combined.“With over 175,000 appointments and operations postponed, the impact has been huge and must prompt the government and BMA to get back round the table to bring an end to the dispute.”Taylor added: “Over the last three days, demand seems to have been higher than expected, particularly in emergency departments, with one reporting that they averaged one patient arrival every four minutes.”The BMA exchanged letters with the government following Thursday’s announcement of a new offer to other NHS workers.The union is demanding “pay restoration” for junior doctors, who can have many years’ experience and make up about 45% of the workforce.

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