RCGP calls for 'prompt resolution' after junior doctors vote for strikes

The RCGP has called for a prompt resolution of the junior doctors dispute and welcomed a BMA call for arbitration with the government.

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.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: 'Junior doctors are the future of our profession, they have now spoken and made their position very clear.

GP morale

'The current situation has led to the lowest morale among doctors in a generation.

'We are incredibly concerned about the effect that this will have on the future of our profession and the wider NHS - particularly in terms of efforts to recruit and retain enough doctors to deliver safe patient care to our patients.

'We must do whatever we can to support our junior doctors and make them understand how valued – and how essential to the future of patient care - they are.

'Doctors choose medicine because they genuinely want to care for their patients and contribute to the health service. This decision is an overwhelming indication that junior doctors do not think the proposed contract will enable them to do this.

'We are pleased that the BMA have invited the government into talks with an independent arbitrator – we fully support this course of action, which we have previously suggested as the most promising way forward.

'Our NHS is being pushed to breaking point, particularly as we head towards what will be a very difficult winter for our general practice and hospitals. A prompt resolution is in everyone’s best interests and the college will do everything we can to support this.'

Photo: Pete Hill

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