Further junior doctor strikes 'inevitable' as BMA considers escalation

The NHS is facing a walk-out by junior doctors after the BMA vowed to block the government's plans to impose a new contract.

Following a meeting of the BMA's junior doctor committee on Saturday, chairman Dr Johann Malawana told juniors that further industrial action was ‘inevitable’. The union would consider escalating action to end the contract imposition announced by Jeremy Hunt last week, the leader told members over the weekend.

In an email to juniors posted on social media Dr Malawana said that following a series of regional meetings and Saturday junior doctor committee meetings ‘it couldn't be clearer to me that we now have a single and determined purpose: to end the imposition’.

If the government wanted juniors to take the brunt of delivering more services across seven days, said Dr Malawana, ‘they need to put their money where their mouth is’.

Junior doctor strikes

The committee passed a resolution declaring that the government had broken an agreement from 2013 by trying to deliver services through the new contract without committing the appropriate funding.

Dr Malawana said: ‘It’s never been more apparent that where we find ourselves is battling not only for a fair and sustainable contract but for a sustainable NHS as a whole. Which is why this fight will need to continue to be fought with the public on our side as well as our fellow healthcare professions. After all, if the government is intent on backing junior doctors into a corner which of our other frontline colleagues are next in line for similar belligerent behaviour?'

He added that the committee 'has made the clear decision that further industrial action is inevitable and that we will consider escalating any action to achieve our aim to end the imposition'.

'The exact nature of further action will need to go through the legal processes we have internally within the BMA and we will be making an announcement on that action with the notices to the NHS as has happened previously in very short order. In addition the BMA is exploring every available avenue of legal action to prevent imposition, and you will be hearing from us in due course as action on this front begins.'

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