Junior doctors vote for contract strikes with huge 98% in favour

Junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly for strike action next month.

A ballot by the BMA of more than 37,000 junior doctors returned a 99% vote for action short of a strike, with 98% voting for strikes.

Last week the BMA announced that action would see a walkout with emergency cover on 1 December, followed by two full walkouts on 8 December and 16 December from 8am to 5pm.

The overwhelming vote for action makes strikes almost inevitable despite last minute calls by the health secretary for the BMA to return to negiotiations.

The BMA said it was keen to avert strikes and had asked conciliation service Acas to offer conciliatory talks with the government and NHS Employers in the coming weeks.

Junior doctor strikes

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: 'We regret the inevitable disruption that this will cause but it is the government’s adamant insistence on imposing a contract that is unsafe for patients in the future, and unfair for doctors now and in the future, that has brought us to this point.

'Patients are doctors’ first priority, which is why, even with such a resounding mandate, we are keen to avert the need for industrial action, which is why we have approached Acas to offer conciliatory talks with the health secretary and NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting information coming from government over the past weeks.

'The health secretary is right when he says this action is ‘wholly avoidable’. Our message to him is that junior doctors have today made their views perfectly clear but that it is still possible to get back around the negotiating table to deliver a contract that is safe for patients, contains the necessary contractual safeguards to prevent junior doctors being overworked and properly recognises evening and weekend work.'

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said on Twitter the vote was an 'overwealming mandate' and the government should agree to Acas talks. 

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