Health Secretary Steve Barclay has claimed strike action by doctors “serves only to harm patients” and put “further pressure” on their colleagues.

Junior doctors in England will be involved in their fifth round of strikes from Friday, as the bitter pay dispute with the Government continues.

The latest round of strike action from British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors will end at 7am on Tuesday August 15.

Mr Barclay, writing for the Daily Mail, defended the Government’s pay offer and said: “Yet, the BMA continues to act recklessly by going ahead with further unnecessary strike action this week, which serves only to harm patients and put further pressure on their own colleagues.

“We’ve seen again and again that no one benefits from this disruption and nearly 800,000 appointments or procedures have been postponed as a result of industrial action.

“It’s extremely concerning, especially as the NHS works hard to recover from the pandemic and tackle a record backlog.”

Mr Barclay added: “As has always been the case, I want to hear about how we can improve the working lives of doctors and NHS staff and will always be keen to talk about this.

“Last month I invited a group of doctors in training to sit down with me and talk about their experience of training. They shared with me some of the measures and support that they would like to see in their workplace, such as improved technology to reduce unnecessary admin demands.

“I want to have a grown-up conversation about how to fix the legitimate frustrations these doctors face, and work together to improve their working lives.

“Striking is not going to help anyone achieve that and ultimately it is patients that have to bear the brunt of walkouts.”

The BMA’s junior doctors committee has previously urged ministers to “act like a responsible government, come to the table to negotiate with us in good faith, and with a credible offer” to avoid further strike action.

The BMA has been approached for comment.