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Union slams government plans to make doctors and nurses work on strike days as 'kick in the teeth' to profession

A union has slammed government plans to make doctors and nurses work on strike days as 'another kick in the teeth' to the profession.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay has announced the government is considering introducing minimum service level (MSL) regulations, that would require some doctors and nurses to work during strikes in order to 'protect patient safety'.

The consultation will considers introducing MSLs to cover urgent, emergency and time-critical hospital-based health services, which could cover hospital staff including nurses and doctors.

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The government, who has urged the union to call off strikes, say the proposals will also seek evidence to inform decisions on the expansion and scope of MSLs following a consultation earlier this year on introducing minimum service levels in ambulance services, bringing the UK in line with countries like France and Italy whose services continue in times of industrial action.

However the BMA, the trade union representing doctors in the UK, has said the government has 'deliberately run down the health service over the last 10 years' and that the proposals 'stifle the right for doctors to act collectively and fight for better pay and conditions'.

The consultation comes in a week where both consultants and junior doctors are taking strike action, something the government say causes 'unnecessary risk to patient safety' and that the MSLs could be introduced in key hospital-based services by next year.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “This week’s coordinated and calculated strike