GPC unanimously backs junior doctors strike vote

The GPC has unanimously backed yesterday's overwhelming vote by junior doctors in favour of strike action over changes to their contract.

A meeting of the GPC on Thursday passed a motion applauding the 98% vote by juniors in favour of strike action.

The motion was proposed by Dr Jackie Applebee, Dr Deborah Colvin and Dr David Wrigley, GPC members who also belong to the Unite/Medical Practitioners Union.

The motion said: ‘The GPC applauds the junior doctors for the overwhelming mandate they have given their leaders to fight for a safe and fair contract, to maintain the future workforce and keep patients safe.’

Junior doctor strikes

Chairwoman of Tower Hamlets LMC and Unite/MPU representative on the GPC Dr Jackie Applebee said it was ‘fantastic’ that juniors had voted overwhelmingly for strikes.

‘They are fighting not just for themselves, but for the NHS. Their fight is everyone's fight: other health workers and most importantly patients.’

She added: ‘Jeremy Hunt's attack on junior doctors is part of the wider attack on the NHS, if he is successful in pushing through his changes to the junior doctor contract he will be able to continue to push through cuts in unsocial hours pay to other sectors of the NHS workforce, including GPs, consultants and nurses, as part of his plan to make his much vaunted 24/7 health service affordable.

‘This is not fair for health workers - they will have to work more hours to afford their bills - and not safe for patients being cared for by exhausted health professionals. We must all get behind the junior doctors and make sure they win.’

Hunt rejects conciliation talks

Speaking after the junior doctor ballot result, Mr Hunt said the vote for strikes was a result of a ‘campaign of misinformation’ by the BMA.

The ballot was 'very, very disappointing', he told the BBC.

‘We put forward a very fair offer for doctors, which will see pay go up for three-quarters of junior doctors. We wanted to talk about this to them, but in the end they have chosen to strike so we will have to put in contingency plans,' said Mr Hunt.

The health secretary rejected a BMA offer of last minute talks with the conciliation service Acas to avert strike. Mr Hunt said junior doctors should come back to negotiations on the independent pay review recommendations before the government would consider arbitration.

Former GP, Conservative chairwoman of the health select committee Dr Sarah Wollaston said on Twitter she had urged the government to accept the BMA’s offer of talks.

But, she added, junior doctors ‘must not underestimate harm to patients from widespread cancellations’.

The BMA is planning a walkout by all non-emergency juniors on 1 December, followed by two all-out strikes on 8 December and 16 December.

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