Wednesday marks the beginning of the longest consecutive protest by hospital physicians in England since the establishment of the National Health Service seven decades ago.
Junior physicians, or those below the consultant level, will stage a six-day walkout against the United Kingdom government as they escalate their protracted pay dispute.
During one of the busiest periods of the year, when the state-funded NHS is under increased strain from winter respiratory ailments, industrial action occurs.
It also transpires shortly after physicians engage in a three-day strike before the holiday.
The most recent protest, which could involve as many as fifty percent of the medical staff on picket lines, will “significantly impact almost all routine care,” according to the NHS.
“This January could be one of the most challenging beginnings to the year the NHS has ever encountered,” predicted Stephen Powis, the organization’s national medical director.
The strike will commence at 7:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Tuesday, January 9, and conclude simultaneously.
Declined in negotiations with the government, the British Medical Association declared the strike in December.
According to the union, novice physicians have been offered a 3% raise, in addition to the 8.8% raise they received on average earlier this year.
It declined the offer due to the inequitable cash distribution among various doctor grades, which would “remain pay cuts for many physicians.”
Since March, junior physicians have gone on strike at least seven times.
Healthcare leaders and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have criticized the conduct.
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have devolved authority over health policy, while England is subject to the oversight of the United Kingdom government.
Junior physicians will observe a 72-hour strike in Wales beginning January 15.