UK health secretary invites BMA union for formal pay talks

(Reuters) - UK health secretary Steve Barclay on Friday invited the British Medical Association's (BMA) Junior Doctors for formal pay talks days before a strike.

"I’ve written to BMA inviting them for formal pay talks on the same basis other health unions accepted, including calling off next week’s strike", Barclay said in a tweet.

Last month, BMA said tens of thousands of junior doctors in England would take strike action for three days from March 13 in a dispute over pay, adding to a series of walkouts by other staff in a strained health system.

BMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The strikes heap more pressure on Britain's state-funded National Health Service which is already stretched by staff shortages and record backlogs, and is experiencing waves of disruptive strike action by health workers.

(Reporting by Urvi Dugar in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)