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Health Secretary to meet junior doctors and dentists over strikes and reform

The Health Secretary has announced he will meet junior doctors on Tuesday in an effort to end strike action and discuss reform.

Wes Streeting will first meet the British Dental Association on Monday over changes to the dental contract and to kickstart 700,000 more urgent dentistry appointments.

He will then hold face-to-face talks with the British Medical Association (BMA) Junior Doctors Committee on Tuesday for negotiations to end their long-running dispute over pay.

Medics in training across the NHS went on strike for five full days from June 27.

Junior doctors on picket line
Junior doctors have been staging strike action (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The walkout was the 11th by junior doctors in 20 months.

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Junior doctors in England have said their pay has been cut by more than a quarter over the last 15 years and have called for a 35% increase.

Labour pledged to create an extra 100,000 urgent dental appointments for children in a bid to clear backlogs in England as part of its manifesto during the General Election campaign.

The additional appointments will be delivered on evenings and weekends while the proposals will cost £109 million a year, the party said.

Mr Streeting said in a statement on Sunday: “When I said the NHS was broken, I was being honest with the public about the scale of the challenge. It will take time to fix it, so there’s no time to waste.

“I am meeting with junior doctors early this week to discuss the end of strike action, and on Monday I will meet the British Dental Association to begin rescuing NHS dentistry.

“I will also continue to meet with officials and NHS leaders to agree plans for providing an extra 40,000 operations, scans and appointments a week as soon as possible to cut waiting lists.

“This is what we promised in opposition, so it is what we are doing in government.

“It will be the mission of this government to build an NHS fit for the future. I’m delighted that the Prime Minister will chair the mission delivery board to drive through that change, renew the NHS and build a healthier Britain.”

Mr Streeting’s first visit in his new role will be to a GP practice alongside NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard, the Department of Health and Social Care said.