RCGP calls on David Cameron to stop first full strike in NHS history

The RCGP made an eleventh hour appeal for the prime minister to step in and avert tomorrow's junior doctors action as the health secretary called on juniors to break the strike.

Tens of thousands of junior doctors, including GP trainees, are prepared for the first full walk-out in the history of the NHS from 8am to 5pm Tuesday and again Wednesday.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker, in a letter co-signed by 12 royal colleges and medical faculty leaders said the ongoing dispute posed a ‘significant threat to our whole healthcare system by demoralising a group of staff on whom the future of the NHS depends’

The professional leaders called on David Cameron to intervene to bring ‘both parties’ back to negotiations.

Junior doctor strike

Mr Hunt told MPs the ‘wholly unjustified’ strike was ‘tragic’ and ‘crossed a line’ which had not been crossed before. 

‘I wish to appeal directly to all junior doctors not to withdraw emergency cover which creates particular risks for accident and emergency, maternity units and intensive care units,' the health secretary said. 

‘No trade union,' said Mr Hunt, ‘has a right to veto a manifesto promise voted for by the British people’.

Earlier BMA junior doctors committee chairman Dr Johann Malawana called suggestions by a government source reported by the BBC that the BMA was 'trying to topple the government' ‘beyond ridiculous’. ‘The level of scaremongering is absolutely ridiculous,’ he said.

Meanwhile, support among junior doctors for the action appeared to be holding up despite intensifying pressure from the government and NHS leaders. An email survey of more than 1,000 juniors found 99.7% are against the government’s proposed contract, 98.8% feel confident of patient safety during strike action, and 78% said they expect to join the full walk-out.

The Justice for Health group, which is taking independent legal action against the government imposition, was set up by five frontline junior doctors including two GP trainees.

The group said: ‘We join the thousands of NHS staff & patients calling for the removal of imposition of the junior doctors contract to avert this week’s full walk-out.’

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