The union’s council has agreed strike dates in the run up to Christmas if junior doctors vote for action.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt accused doctors of 'threatening extreme action' which would harm patients.
Juniors doctors are balloting over the government’s threat to impose a new contract extending 'plain time' - a term for normal working hours. Some junior doctors say the contract would mean pay cuts and unsafe working hours. The union says the contract proposals are bad for doctors and patients.
The strike ballot closes next Wednesday, and if BMA members vote yes to strike action and to action short of a strike, there could be one day of emergency care only on 1 December, followed by two full walkouts on 8 December and 16 December from 8am to 5pm.
Junior doctor industrial action
BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: ‘We are releasing this information at this early stage because we want to give as much notice as possible to minimise disruption to other NHS staff and, above all, to patients. Our dispute is with the government and our ballot for industrial action is a last resort in the face of their continued threat to impose a new contract.
‘Industrial action is the last resort for a reason: it comes only when every other avenue has been exhausted. The BMA has been explicit in what it needs to change in junior doctor contract proposals. The government’s refusal to work with us through genuine negotiations, and its continued threat to impose an unsafe and unfair contract leaves us with no alternative.
‘The BMA is clear that we want to work with the government to deliver a contract that is good for patients, junior doctors and the NHS as a whole. It is not too late to achieve this, but the government must remove the threat of imposition and provide the reasonable assurances junior doctors need to get back around the negotiating table.
‘Today’s decision by BMA council sends a clear message to the government – the medical profession as a whole is standing in solidarity with junior doctors.’
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'Threatening extreme action is totally unwarranted and will harm vulnerable patients. Refusing to talk to a government that wants to improve weekend care for patients and reduce doctors’ hours can only damage the NHS. Rather than striking the BMA should return to the negotiations they walked away from a year ago and put their patients first.'