latest health care news

31.08.16

BMA to make decision on junior doctors’ industrial action today

A decision on whether to press ahead with further junior doctors’ strikes will be made by the British Medical Association (BMA) today.

The BMA’s Council will meet today to discuss a range of options after junior doctors voted to reject a new contract agreed in negotiations with the Department of Health.

Dr Ellen McCourt, who became chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee after Dr Johann Malawana resigned, vowed to ‘continue to fight’ the contract after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would impose it on junior doctors.

A BMA spokesperson told NHE: “A decision about industrial action, what that looks like, will be made today. We will announce anything as soon as we possibly can.”

According to papers leaked to the Daily Mail newspaper, one of the proposals from the junior doctors’ committee is five-day strikes in each month until the end of the year.

Industrial action began with two 24-hour strikes in February, which did not cover emergency care, before escalating to 48-hour strikes in March and April, followed by another strike with full withdrawal of care.

It looked like a breakthrough was achieved after both sides agreed the new contract, but further strikes now look likely.

Daniel Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, has previously warned that the proposed rolling strike action would “achieve little or nothing”.

Following the BMA discussions, an announcement is expected later this afternoon or tomorrow.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “As doctors’ representatives, the BMA should be putting patients first not playing politics in a way that will be immensely damaging for vulnerable patients.

“What’s more, the BMA must be the first union in history to call for strike action against a deal they themselves negotiated and said was a good one. Co-operation not confrontation is the way forward to make sure patients get the best treatment.”

(Image c. Ben Birchall from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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