Nick Ferrari today told a minister it was “disgraceful” that the government was “at war” with doctors and nurses.
The veteran LBC presenter tore into mental health minister Maria Caulfield after junior doctors became the latest health workers to announce they are going on strike.
It follows industrial action from nurses and ambulance workers amid long-running disputes over pay.
Ferrari told Caulfield: “On your government’s watch, we’ve had the first ever strike from the RCN in the field of health, and only the second action in the 74-year history of the NHS for junior doctors, all on this Conservative government’s watch. It’s a disgrace, minister.
“It’s disgraceful that you’re at war with a body of men and women such as our doctors and nurses and our ambulance crews.
“How for the love of all that’s holy has the government – of which you are a member – allowed this to happen?”
Caulfield told him: “So, in all four nations – and the government’s only responsible for health care in England – but in Wales where Labour run the health service there, in Scotland under the SNP and in Northern Ireland, you don’t have a functioning assembly at the moment but the government there would be responsible, all four nations are facing industrial action.
“So, it’s not just the UK government that’s having to negotiate with health.”
Junior doctors in England are set to go on strike for 72 hours next month in a row over pay.
Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) overwhelmingly backed the walkout as the union hit out at health secretary Steve Barclay for failing to take part in meaningful negotiations on wages.
“The government has only itself to blame, standing by in silent indifference as our members are forced to take this difficult decision,” BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said.
More than 47,600 junior doctors in England were eligible to vote in the BMA’s ballot.
Almost 37,000 votes were cast and 98% of those were cast in favour of strike action, meaning this was the largest ever turnout for a ballot of doctors by the BMA and a record number of junior doctors voting for strike action.
Barclay said: “We hugely value the work of junior doctors and it is deeply disappointing some union members have voted for strike action.
“As part of a multi-year deal we agreed with the BMA, junior doctors’ pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20. We also introduced a higher pay band for the most experienced staff and increased rates for night shifts.
“I’ve met with the BMA and other medical unions to discuss what is fair and affordable, as well as wider concerns around conditions and workload.
“I want to continue discussing how we can make the NHS a better place to work for all.”
The BMA’s action is the latest industrial dispute to hit the NHS as workers face a squeeze on living standards driven by soaring inflation.
Thousands of ambulance workers staged a fresh strike on Monday in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing.