Junior doctor strikes to go ahead after talks collapse

The BMA has confirmed that junior doctor strikes will go ahead next week after last-ditch talks with the government failed to secure a deal.

The strike action will be the first by junior doctors in 40 years. The BMA blamed the collapse of talks on the government's continued failure to address juniors’ concerns about the need for robust contractual safeguards on safe working and recognition for unsocial hours.

Doctors will strike for 24 hours next Tuesday 12 January with doctors providing emergency care only. The BMA said that unless progress is made on the key issues a further 48-hour emergency care-only strike will follow, beginning on 26 January, with a third day of action on 10 February with full withdrawal of doctors’ labour between 8am and 5pm.

A total of 98% of junior doctors backed strike action in a ballot in November. Industrial action was narrowly averted then when the government accepted a BMA offer of conciliation talks with ACAS.

Junior doctor strikes

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: ‘Throughout this process the BMA has been clear that it wants to reach agreement on a contract that is good for patients, junior doctors and the NHS. This is why, despite overwhelming support for industrial action, the BMA instead sought conciliation talks with the government, talks which were initially rejected and delayed by Jeremy Hunt.

‘After weeks of further negotiations, it is clear that the government is still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously. Furthermore, the government has repeatedly dragged its feet throughout this process, initially rejecting our offer of talks and failing to make significant movement during negotiations.

‘We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand.’

Photo: iStock

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