Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
They are planning a “full 72-hour walkout in March”.
More than 98% voted in favour of striking.
In a statement, the BMA said: “The results are in and members have delivered a huge mandate – with the highest-ever number of junior doctors voting for strike action and a record turnout. A huge thank you to all of those who voted.”
Turnout stood at around 77.5%, with almost 37,000 junior doctors out of around 47,700 of those who are eligible taking part in the ballot.
The strike dates have not yet been confirmed.
It comes as driving test examiners also voted to strike today.
Read more: Who is taking industrial action in 2023 and when?
Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said it was “deeply disappointing” that junior doctors voted to strike.
“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,” he said.
“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 make the NHS a better place to work for all.”
But the BMA says that junior doctors have “no option but to take action”.
“While workload and waiting lists are at record highs, junior doctors’ pay has been cut by more than a quarter since 2008,” the BMA said in a statement.
“A crippling cost-of-living crisis, burnout and well below inflation pay rises risk driving hard working doctors out of their profession at a time when we need them more than ever.
“To protect the NHS, the Government must engage and address doctors’ concerns. But so far, they have refused to meet with us.
“This has left doctors with no other option but to vote on whether to take industrial action. If junior doctors are forced out of the NHS because of poor pay and conditions, the services we all rely on to look after our loved ones will suffer.”
Driving test examiners
Driving test examiners also announced ten days of strike action across England, Scotland and Wales on Monday.
More than 1,600 members employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will hold rolling days of industrial action from 6 to 28 March.
The strikes are the latest escalation in the Public and Commercial Services Union’s campaign over pay, pensions and jobs.
The union’s general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “The Government must put forward concrete proposals to resolve this dispute.
“Ministers can choose to resolve this dispute by putting money on the table.”