Junior doctors have voted by a huge margin for strikes to continue for the next six months in their long-running pay dispute.

The British Medical Association (BMA) urged the Health Secretary to make a new offer after announcing that its members backed more action by 98%.

A total of 33,869 of junior doctors voted in favour on a turnout of 62% with the new mandate set to last until September 19 and the ballot also approved the use of action short of strikes.

The BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: “It has now been a year since we began strike action. That is a year of strikes too many.

“The Government believed it could ignore, delay, and offer excuses long enough that we would simply give up. That attitude has now led to the NHS wasting £3 billion covering the strikes.

“This is more than double the cost of settling our whole claim, and as we see in the results of today’s ballot, delaying tactics will not work. Doctors are still determined to see their pay cuts reversed, and they are willing to keep striking another six months to achieve that.

"Government should see the urgency of the situation"

Dr Laurenson and Dr Trivedi added: “The Government should see the urgency of the situation. Rather than waste time dragging out talks, they can come forward with a credible offer on pay right now.

“They don’t need to be in the same situation six months from now, with even more taxpayer money wasted. Instead they could be celebrating a revitalised and reinvigorated junior doctor workforce, one that feels that their value has started to be restored.

“That would be an achievement worth celebrating for everyone and begin to finally turn the tide on the deteriorating workforce crisis.

“No doctor wants to be on strike for a second longer than they have to, but it took us 15 years of declining pay to get here. Today’s re-ballot shows that doctors understand that reversing this means being in the struggle for the long haul.

“We ask the Health Secretary to come forward as soon as possible with a new offer – and make sure not a single further strike day need be called.”