Junior doctors will stage five days of further walkouts as part of the ongoing dispute with the government over plans to implement new contracts. The British Medical Association (BMA) said it has approved further industrial action following several previous strikes in 2016.
Junior doctors believe the new contracts the government plans to impose will put peoples lives at risk because of working hours, as well as a dispute over weekend pay. The BMA added there are also concerns regarding the contract about how it will impact those working less-than full time, a majority of whom are women, and the impact it will have on junior doctors working the most weekends, typically in specialties where there is already a shortage of doctors.
The latest walkouts are set to take place between 12 and 16 of September and include full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm, with further dates still to be announced.
Dr Ellen McCourt, who was recently appointed chair of the BMA junior doctors committee (JDC), said that the JDC was asking the BMA Council to authorise a rolling programme of escalated industrial action beginning in early September.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he would impose the new terms on doctors in July after the BMA union voted against accepted the governments terms by a margin of 58% to 42%.
McCourt said: We have a simple ask of the Government: stop the imposition. If it agrees to do this, junior doctors will call off industrial action.
This is not a situation junior doctors wanted to find themselves in. We want to resolve this dispute through talks, but in forcing through a contract that junior doctors have rejected and which they dont believe is good for their patients or themselves, the Government has left them with no other choice.
Junior doctors still have serious concerns with the contract, particularly that it will fuel the workforce crisis, and that it fails to treat all doctors fairly.
Since July, the BMA has made repeated attempts to work with the Government to address the concerns that junior doctors have raised about the contract.
Genuine efforts to resolve the dispute through talks have been met with an unwillingness to engage and, at times, deafening silence from the health secretary, leaving junior doctors with no choice but to take further action. This is despite a pledge from Jeremy Hunt that his door is always open.
A Department of Health spokesperson 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.
Whats 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.
Whilst there are many pressures on the frontline, funding is at record levels, with the highest number of doctors employed in the history of the NHS. Co-operation not confrontation is the way forward to make sure patients get the best treatment and the NHS is there for people whenever they need it.