News

23.03.16

Junior doctors to withdraw all service cover in late April strike

Junior doctors’ strikes on 26 April in protest at the imposition of an unpopular new contract will involve the complete withdrawal of services, including in emergency care, for the first time.

The British Medical Association (BMA) announced today that there will now be a full withdrawal of labour from 8am to 5pm on 26 and 27 April instead of the emergency-only care previously provided, saying it regretted the disruption to patients but had been left with no choice.

The announcement marks an escalation in a long-running dispute over the new contracts, which health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last month he was imposing after failing to reach an agreement with the doctors.

Dr Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee, said: “No junior doctor wants to take this action but the government has left us with no choice. In refusing to lift imposition and listen to junior doctors’ outstanding concerns, the government will bear direct responsibility for the first full walkout of doctors in this country.

“We deeply regret the disruption to patients and our message to patients is clear; this action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition.

“We want to end this dispute through talks but the government is making this impossible.

“It is flatly refusing to engage with junior doctors, has done nothing to halt industrial action and is wilfully ignoring the mounting chorus of concerns with its plans to impose coming from doctors, patients and senior NHS managers.

“Faced with this reality what else can junior doctors do?

“For the sake of patients, doctors and the future of the NHS, the government must put politics to one side, get back around the table and end this dispute through talks.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “This escalation of industrial action is both desperate and irresponsible – and will inevitably put patients in harm's way.”

Despite the contract imposition, junior doctors began a series of 48-hour strikes on 9 March.

Another strike on 6 April will still provide emergency care.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA council, said: “There is not a single doctor in this country who wanted or expected to reach this point. We have been left with no alternative but to escalate the action, in order that the legitimate grievances expressed by thousands of junior doctors are heard.”

Full strikes were backed by 98% of junior doctors in a ballot in November.

(Image c. Chris Radburn from PA Wire)

Comments

Bill Mckechnie   27/03/2016 at 12:50

Do these young doctors actually think they will win against a government? Has this Country not learned anything from past strike action. You may well get a U turn but do you honestly believe they will just roll over and accept defeat? Cuckoo

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