BMA junior doctors committee member Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya told GPonline he was ‘ absolutely terrified’ that the government would go ahead with the contract imposition.
The GP trainee, speaking from the picket line at the Royal Marsden Hospital, added: ‘It's terrifying to think we could be taking further action. It's terrifying to think we are taking the action we are now. It's not what we want to be doing.’
Junior doctors began the first of three planned 48-hour walkouts by non-emergency doctors at 8am Wednesday. A further two strikes are planned for next month.
NHS England said more than 5,000 procedures had been cancelled because of the action but it was doing everything it could to minimise the effect on patients.
Dr Wijesuriya said the junior doctors committee had offered the government a compromise solution that met its needs but without, in doctors’ eyes, compromising the service.
‘We have tried everything to try and get this government to see sense, to negotiate, to find a way of finding a real solution,' he said. ‘They just aren't interested. They are more interested in trying to score political points than they are a realistic solution.’
A DH spokesman said: ‘Patients have so far seen more than 19,000 operations cancelled as a result of the BMA's irresponsible and unjustified industrial action. The new contract, 90% of which was agreed with the BMA, and endorsed by senior NHS leaders, is a very good deal for doctors and the NHS. It will mean an average 13.5% basic pay rise with a cap on the number of long shifts worked to improve safety. We urge junior doctors to look at the detail.’