Junior doctor strikes will go ahead unless government drops imposition threat, warns BMA

BMA leaders have warned that planned junior doctor strikes could go ahead unless ministers drop their threat to impose a contract if a negotiated solution cannot be reached, despite a DH U-turn over talks through the conciliation service Acas.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote to BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter on Wednesday to reverse his earlier refusal to restart junior doctor contract talks through the conciliation service.

Dr Porter welcomed the 'significant shift' by the health secretary, but warned that he would have to go further to avert strikes.

Dr Porter said: 'It is encouraging that Jeremy Hunt has made a significant shift in accepting the BMA’s offer of conciliatory talks through Acas, finally recognising the fact that trust has broken down between junior doctors and the government.

Junior doctor strikes

'However, junior doctors and the public, who by now will be used to Mr Hunt’s political game playing, will not be surprised by the fact that he has waited until now to do the right thing.

'We hope to start these talks as soon as possible in order to reach a collaborative agreement for the benefit of patients and the NHS. Importantly, Mr Hunt must finally remove his threat of imposition in order to defer Tuesday’s industrial action.'

In his letter to the BMA earlier on Wednesday, Mr Hunt insisted that the government has always been open to talks 'without preconditions'.

However, the BMA has said since the outset of a dispute that saw 98% of junior doctors vote for industrial action earlier this month that it will not return to talks with the government without guarantees that a contract will not be imposed.

Junior doctors plan to take action on three dates in December - one day of emergency care only on 1 December, followed by two full walkouts on 8 December and 16 December from 8am to 5pm.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Viewpoint: 'Hero' label must not stop doctors demanding fair pay and support

Viewpoint: 'Hero' label must not stop doctors demanding fair pay and support

Calling NHS staff 'heroes' reflected the personal risk and sacrifices they took on...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

Tributes as GP and 'staunch defender of the NHS' Dr Kailash Chand dies

Tributes as GP and 'staunch defender of the NHS' Dr Kailash Chand dies

Tributes have poured in for long-serving Manchester GP, BMA vice president and NHS...

Unfunded 3% pay rise could add £20,000 to average GP practice wage bill

Unfunded 3% pay rise could add £20,000 to average GP practice wage bill

GP practices in England could see their wage bill rise by £20,000 on average after...

Pandemic driving surge in burnout among trainee doctors and educators, GMC poll shows

Pandemic driving surge in burnout among trainee doctors and educators, GMC poll shows

One in three trainee doctors and a fifth of trainers feel burned out to a 'high'...

Quadruple funding for long COVID enhanced service, GPs warn

Quadruple funding for long COVID enhanced service, GPs warn

Funding for the long COVID enhanced service should be quadrupled to ensure practices...