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England's senior doctors turn down government's pay rise offer, plan new strike

This file photo shows British doctors demonstrating during a protest rally over pay and work conditions.

Amid an ongoing industrial action by UK's junior doctors, senior doctors in England are also planning a two-day strike, dismissing a meager six-percent pay rise offered by the government.

The British Medical Association (BMA) announced the pending strike early Monday, saying consultant-level doctors in Britain's publicly-funded National Health Service (NHS) are to stage the industrial action on August 24 and 25.

A previously announced strike that has been scheduled for July 20 and 21 will, meanwhile, go ahead as planned.

Vishal Sharma, who chairs BMA's consultants committee, said the doctors were unimpressed by the six-percent pay rise.

"The government has once again imposed a savage real terms pay cut on consultants," he said.

"In the face of a government intent on devaluing consultants’ expertise and their lack of regard for the impact this is having on the NHS, we have been left with no choice," Sharma added.

This week's strike will be the first by consultant-level doctors in the ongoing pay dispute with the government and is expected to put serious strain on the NHS. Most routine and elective services will be cancelled but emergency procedures will remain in place.

Britain's inflation rate has been rising for well over a year, peaking at above 11 percent in October and most recently at 8.7 percent in May -- the highest of all major developed economies.

Junior doctors' walkout over pay and working conditions started on Thursday and will last until Tuesday, and has been described as the biggest industrial action in the history of the NHS.

"Today marks the start of the longest single walkout by doctors in the NHS' history, but this is still not a record that needs to go into the history books," BMA leaders, Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi, said ahead of the walkout.

The wave of health sector walkouts has prompted fears for patient safety as the country is already reeling from a vast pandemic backlog.

Nurses, ambulance staff, and other medical staff have all joined picket lines in recent months, adding to pressures on patient appointments.

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