Junior doctors to strike in continued contract dispute

Junior Doctors-stike action-2015Junior doctors in England are to take industrial action next week in a continued dispute around the terms of their new contract.

In November 98% of junior doctors balloted by the British Medical Association (BMA) voted for industrial action, including strikes, in response to changes to the contract, particularly around pay for working unsocial hours.

Strike action was due to commence on 1 December but was suspended following conciliatory talks between the BMA, NHS Employers and the Department of Health.

Since then, the BMA has been in talks with NHS Employers and the Department of Health over a new contract for medical trainees in England.

The BMA announced three dates for industrial action yesterday (4 January), the first of which is taking place on 12 January at 8am until 13 January at 8am. This strike will only affect emergency care.

Industrial action is also planned for 26 January from 8am until 28 January at 8am for emergency care only, as well as a full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on 10 February.

Mark Porter, council chair of the British Medical Association, said: “After weeks of further negotiations, it is clear that the government is still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously. The government initially rejected our offer of talks and failed to make significant movement during negotiations.

“We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long term that we are taking this stand.”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, added: “Deciding to take strike action is disappointing, disruptive and damaging for the NHS.

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“Significant progress had been made during our recent talks and their refusal to discuss our latest offer, which includes additional reassurances on safeguards on working hours specifically requested by the BMA, in favour of taking strike action will set back the progress we had made.

“Our priority now is to work with employers in the NHS to make sure they take action to minimise the disruption to patients that this BMA action will cause.”