At least four hospital trusts in London have offered £150 to £200 an hour to GPs willing to cover for junior doctors going on strike next week.
Junior doctors demanding pay restoration are being instructed not to begin any shift that is due to start after 06:59 on Tuesday 11 April or return to work before 06:59 hours on Saturday 15 April.
The BMA confirmed that the industrial action will take the form of a full stoppage of work, including night shifts, on-call shifts, and non-resident work, and GP practices have been encouraged to cancel trainee clinics on the strike days.
A WhatsApp message shared on Twitter yesterday said that trusts running Chelsea and Westminster, West Middlesex, Charing Cross, St Mary’s, Northwick Park, Ealing and Hillingdon hospitals are looking for GPs willing to provide clinical cover in A&E during the strikes, paying up to £200 per hour.
The message said: ‘Local secondary trusts are working hard to identify senior colleagues to support with work rotas during this time.
‘In particular, they are keen to ask GP colleagues who are available without prior commitments to consider shifts at their local emergency departments.
‘Trusts will pay up to £150/hour for daytime hours, £200/hour for night. If you are interested in volunteering for this work, please make contact with the identified contact person per trust.’
A spokesperson for NHS North West London said: ‘We value our junior doctors and their vital work and fully respect their right to take industrial action.
‘We recognise that next week’s strikes, coming immediately after the Easter bank holidays, are likely to put NHS services under significant pressure.
‘The number one priority of all NHS organisations is to ensure patient safety and we are making every effort to staff our services to provide safe care for our patients. This includes working with our colleagues in primary care to support our urgent treatment centres.’
However, on background, the ICB stated that the suggestion the offer outstripped consultant pay was not accurate.
The BMA said that junior doctors have experienced a cut of more than 25% to their salaries since 2008/09 and the average junior doctor earns £14.09 per hour.
A version of this article first appeared on Healthcare Leader’s sister title Pulse.