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Junior doctors to stage full walk-out under BMA plans for industrial action

The BMA is proposing that junior doctors stage a full walk-out, with no provision of emergency care, if members vote in favour of industrial action.

Its council today agreed the details of the potential industrial action, on which it is currently balloting junior doctor members.

If members vote in favour of industrial action, junior doctors would provide emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on Tuesday 1 December.

This will be followed by a full walk-out from 8am to 5pm on Tuesday 8 December, and another at the same time on Wednesday 16 December.

This is in contrast to the industrial action held in 2012 in protest at the pensions changes, during which doctors continued to provide emergency care.

The industrial action is being proposed amid an ongoing row between the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee and the Government, which has threatened to impose a contract on trainees that will see them given far less reward for weekend working and will remove safeguards around safe working hours.

Under the Government’s proposals, GP trainees would see the removal of a guaranteed supplement that ensures they are receive pay parity with their secondary care collegues.  

The BMA has said it is releasing the details at this early stage ‘in order to ensure that the necessary cover can be put in place to minimise disruption to other NHS staff and, above all, to patients’.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: ‘Our dispute is with the Government and our ballot for industrial action is a last resort in the face of their continued threat to impose a new contract.

‘Industrial action is the last resort for a reason: it comes only when every other avenue has been exhausted.

‘The BMA has been explicit in what it needs to change in junior doctor contract proposals. The Government’s refusal to work with us through genuine negotiations, and its continued threat to impose an unsafe and unfair contract leaves us with no alternative.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt had stepped in with a last-minute offer on the eve of the ballot opening, which he claimed would see junior doctors being given an 11% increase to basic pay.

However, the BMA has repeatedly said that it will negotiate with the Government only when Mr Hunt lifts his threat of a contract imposition, while Government claims that only 1% of doctors will receive a pay reduction have been questioned.

Pulse revealed that the vast majority of senior GPs supported GP registrars and junior doctors taking industrial action, while the GP trainees surveyed said they would vote in favour of the proposals.

Dr Louise Clift, a GP registrar in Gloucestershire, said she would be voting in favour of industrial action, and dismissed claims that the new offer would result in a pay rise,

She said: ’Jeremy Hunt is completely barking up the wrong tree if he thinks he can pull the wool over our eyes with an ”11% pay rise”. This is nothing more than a pay cut for me and the majority of my junior doctor colleagues.’

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: ’We know this will have a huge impact on patient care and we urge the BMA to avoid putting patients and the NHS in this position by returning to talks with us.

’Proposed strike action, as outlined by the BMA would be hugely regrettable. Employers across the NHS will be extremely disappointed and anxious about the difficult situation they will find themselves in to make sure work schedules are met and patient care is not compromised.’

The ballot closes on 18 November.  

 

Readers' comments (60)

  • Vinci Ho

    Beware of Agent Hunt's propaganda media - will easily come up estimated statistics of how many more people will die in hospitals if they were admitted on these days of industrial actions.....

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  • Everything will fall onto OOH care staffed by Gp's . Perhaps there could be a co-ordinated boycott of these relevent OOH shifts . If they're not contracted shifts it cannot be termed secondary action .

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  • It was interesting listening to Hunt the other day. He says that as 7/7 NHS was in the manifesto he has to impose a contract if one cannot be negotiated.
    Strange because the last SoS promised in the manifesto there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS.
    Lies , damned lies and SoS Health

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  • Mystic Hunt will use smoke and mirrors again .....but I really don't think anyone will believe him

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  • So it begins...
    We will wait and see.

    Gp`s and Consultants should start to consider starting/joining private clinics as the proverbial will hit the fan soon

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  • Well, bravo to them
    At least they have the balls to do whats right.
    Not like the cardigan-bearing GPs that we have as colleagues who wont take part in proper strike action.

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  • Not clear what the BMA and juniors are really protesting about?

    Is it long hours? There is no proposal to increase total hours worked. If anything it is to limit excessive overtime.

    Is it against NHS privatisation? In which case say so and we can nationalise GP practices making everyone salaried. We already primarily work for a monopoly employer which is not without its own problems anyway.

    Perhaps privatisation would be better and UK graduates would not have to go to Australia etc to benefit from the better T's and C's on offer there from a private model.

    Is it about pay? But no one will lose except those working
    excessive hours - who shouldn't be doing that anyway.

    Or is it to try and make a rather futile political point against a Conservative government whose stated aims are to improve NHS weekend services and improve efficiency. That means doing more for less!

    Industrial action will be a PR disaster for the profession.

    We currently benefit from some of the best pay and conditions in Europe despite relatively low headcount per population.

    There are plenty of less well trained European graduates who will be happy to move here to fill posts vacated by UK graduates.

    An increasing amount of 'medical' work will be taken on by non Drs.

    I am very disappointed by the BMA who are in danger of overstepping their remit .

    We cannot constantly hold out our hands and keep saying give us ( and the NHS) more money. There isn't any!

    I suspect this post will probably get removed as it does not meet with the more trendy Left of centre PC goals.

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  • If Hunt doesn't drop these ridiculous plans now then these strikes should definitely go ahead; all 3 of them! Well done BMA JDC, proper balls and action! totally in support of the juniors on this one. Wish GPs had the same courage and dynamism.

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  • 4 pm is wrong . It will be definitely spun as secondary action .

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  • 4.30 consultant is really Jeremy Hunt in disguise . If not ,prove you're not.

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  • This is a vitally important decision by the BMA - to fully back our junior doctor colleagues. Now is the time for all consultants, GPs and other non-junior doctors to visibly and powerfully get behind junior doctors. If the Government manages to impose a contract on junior doctors they will be emboldened to do the same to other groups of doctors and then to other NHS staff. I urge colleagues to support whatever decision junior doctors make in their efforts to convince the Government to withdraw its threat of imposition of an unfair and unsafe contract and enter into meaningful negotiations.

    Here is a link to Tower Hamlets GPs expressing support:

    https://t.co/GcMH60luEY

    And to Barts consultants showing support

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEyvZeV1aeU

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  • I would fully support junior doctors if they strike.
    Someone has to stand up to Hunt and his bullying.
    As others have commented, it's a pity some of the GP negotiators haven't grown a pair yet and taken a proper stance against this tiresome little man and his appalling policy decisions.

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  • Exactly 4:34 I do not think 4:30 is a doctor. I think there are lots of Jeremy hunt's "agents" as Dr Ho likes to call them on our social media sites
    Mr Hunt's "cunning"plan is working perfectly
    Downgrade and ruin the NHS then blame the docs and wheel in the private companies....
    He will not back down no matter what
    Lack of an NHS is no issue when you have millions in the bank and you live in London

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  • 4.30 Troll alert!

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  • good on them !

    for the first time - I have respect for the BMA (well the JDC).

    they need to do this to see where they stand in regards to the public and state. there is no point fighting for a system (NHS) and putting your health and family second when the people you are fighting for (the public) don't support you. If there is a backlash/spin/propaganda then juniors can make their mind up i.e. private, locum, career change, emigrate and leave the NHS to the cardigan wearing desk based do-gooders who will now have to get their hands dirty and actually do some front line work. Finally - something to look forward to.

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  • 4:30pm you are Jeremy Hunt and I claim my £5.

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  • Anonymous | Consultant12 Nov 2015 4:30pm

    Either J Hunt in disguise, or a close to retirement consultant fat off sucking the teet and doesn't want anything to disrupt his glorious retirement.

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  • Bring on the IA. I really hope they do strike and teach spineless GPs a thing or two. We've bene rolling over for so long that we have decimated general practice. I wish I could join in.

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  • Unusually I am posting anonymously as I have been subject to personal attack (from anonymous posters) when I have offered an alternative viewpoint to others posting here. It feels cowardly, but needs must. The whole point of a discussion thread is to fully debate the issue. If you disagree with a comment, counter the message, don't attack the messenger.

    My view is that an all out strike with no emergency cover will permanently damage the trust the general public has in the profession. It will play straight into the government's hands. Unfortunately, losing public sympathy = losing the argument. Brinkmanship is always a tempting path, but be careful what you wish for. The fall out from an all out doctor strike will cause more harm than good, both to the profession as a whole and to each individual doctor's relationship with their patients.

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  • The French doctors threatened a full 'all out' strike by all Doctors in the past. The Government gave in immediately.

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  • @6.10
    Forget about public opinion. Things have gone too far. The NHS is already in slow collapse with unsafe work loads, doctors retiring, emigrating...There is no other way than a full strike

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  • Forget the handwringing, there will be consultant cover for emergencies. Bring it on!

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  • I think that if we are weak now then this action will not be taken seriously and nothing much will change. If we show we mean business then the government and the public will have to listen.
    If we do not show we are serious, then we may not get a second chance for action as situations change. Otherwise the result will be the imposition of the new contract and many many junior doctors will leave the NHS and medicine.
    Serious times require serious actions. I do not think that Junior Doctors have a choice here but to protest as strongly as they can while they can.

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  • all i can say is we never had the guts to do this.i hope you guys have,don't be abused.

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  • Public opinion is not important.
    Doctors have 90% trust from the public, politicians have 16%. (Ipsos Mori)
    People hate tube drivers but they still use the tube.
    Patients are queuing for months to see us, and all branches of medicine are busier than ever, so they will keep coming.

    This IS a pay cut, as at every 6months the junior doctors will move to jobs at a lower pay than they would have had under pay progression in the old system, with worse rotas. This is therefore a pay cut relative to their position compared to the old system.

    This is not a fight for the NHS however, as it may be that the only way to keep a tax funded NHS is to cut all staff pay! What it may do is precipitate the end of a totally tax funded NHS, by revealing what resources are really needed for high quality staff and healthcare.

    I would welcome this.

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  • Let a condition of further negotiations with the government be that this joke of a Health Secretary be removed from his post.

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  • It is quite possible that the intention of this governmant is to make the job of a doctor so untenable that we resign. Again the intention could be that doctors will form private companies resulting in the end of the NHS for all. I am sure that there will be a skeletal NHS service for the poor i.e. those that cannot afford the new enlarged private service. Certainly Osborne has no intention of putting more money into the NHS, despite the ever increasing number of elderly and increasing demand for access to health care. All the blame could then easily be put onto doctors, as being greedy and lacking the ability to accept the austerity measures that are being forced onto most of the population.

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  • GPs cannot strike as we are self employed.
    we can support our junior colleagues by passive resistance.
    Not enough appointments today but here is your MPs address and an appointment for tomorrow (or go to AE which is falling apart because the politicians are trying to destroy the NHS)

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  • Fire them all.There is no shortage of youngsters wanting to be doctors.We need individuals for whom medicine is a vocation rather than those who put their own interests above their patients'.

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  • There are two issues for me.
    1. pay
    2. Conditions.
    Firstly conditions. The Gov. has stopped financial penalties for trusts if doctors work more than 52 hrs per week. Some junior doctors are working 70 hrs for 12 days on the trot. With no penalties on trusts all will be working 70 hrs as a routine. Some older doctors will say well we worked 100-120 hr per week. Well in the old days you did get some sleep , young doctors are chased around the hospital by senior nurses working across specialties. They literally don't have time to eat and drink and have taken to carrying water bottles around. Hunt says that he is reducing hrs from 90 hr per week to 70 , but only 400 or so juniors do 90 hrs 40,000 don't.
    Pay . well this is probably not the main factor, but junior doctors start on £22000 per year after 5 years training. In 1980 I started on £12000 and as a SHO was on £15000 GPs at the time may have earned £25-30,000 Juniors should be earning over £30,000 if their pay had gone up proportionally. The 11% pay rise offered is in the face of a 15% pay rise recommended by the DDRB
    Juniors are being forced to strike, who can blame them.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Whenever there is a form of non-cooperative movement (an industrial action is only an example ) , some collateral damage is a possibility . Public opinions are always difficult to predict and capture . Doctors are scholars , professionals and seldom talk about politics or criticise the government (apart from bas***d like me). '' You can kill a scholar but you must never insult and humiliate him/her.''(Book of Rites by Confucius).
    The fact all these young scholars are standing up against this government will send out a repercussion to impact on so called public opinion . This only proves one thing : the credibility and trust of this government (of course, the Health Sectetary and Prime Minister) in handling NHS is virtually gone. Remember the new duty of candour ? This is a COD: call of duty with full throttle .
    Yes, I am ranting . I am seeking attention (as somebody criticised me the other day), so what?

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  • Is 9:33 another troll or did they mean fire all politicians ?
    In fact applicants for med schools in the uk is down
    See what happened in Canada

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  • Congrats to the junior doctors that have demonstrated what unity means. As for the Judas types (mainly senior retiring GPs), please retire ASAP so that the rest of us can join in the fight for our NHS. United we stand. Divided we fall.

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  • This comment has been deleted

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  • Having spoken with many junior doctors I think the damage is now already done and we are heading for a big workforce problem regardless of outcome.
    Tuition fees, educational expenses, poor working environment, expensive pension, unaffordable housing and now a clearly unfair employer make medicine unattractive in the Uk in the short and medium term.
    The Facebook generation are more savvy and mobile and are voting with their feet and going abroad or diversifying into other non traditional roles.
    Witness the growth of Gplocums who have lots of sideline opportunities. Why be a partner and have to deal with the unfolding workforce shortage if you do not need the extra money that some partnerships bring.
    A shame really, as the NHS is a wonderful thing, but values run counter to the current ethos of the Tory who are here to stay while Corbyn continues to knit yoghurt in opposition.
    A frustratedGp

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  • The thing to do would be to close all GP Surgeries and join the Juniors.This should be coordinated by the GPC.
    NHSE can't sack all GP Contractors for breach of Contract in that case. Unfortunately, for this to happen the Federations and Alliances formed by our 'pseudo-leaders' would need to participate and this won't happen.

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  • ISTR that the Israeli Drs went on strike, and death rates fell during the strike!!

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  • The NHS is already dead, its not about privatisation - this is about the long game. When the NHS is gone, you will want to be paid in line with Drs in the other OECD nations, and to do this, you must start making clear your value now. STRIKE!

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  • This is simple. The government will not sit down without pre-conditions. It isn't a negotiation. I'd be served divorce papers or be fired by my practice if every meeting I demanded all the outocmes I wanted but was willing to negotiate on the choice of biscuit. I do hope that if strike action occurs it seriously rattles the government or upsets the public, consultants and GPs so much we all protest louder on the whole workforces behalf. And if anyone throws the vocation word again I'll cheerfully write it on a placcard and see if it reaches the caecum.

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  • @Anonymous12 Nov 2015 7:54pm

    "Let a condition of further negotiations with the government be that this joke of a Health Secretary be removed from his post."

    Hear hear

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  • @ Anonymous | GP Partner13 Nov 2015 5:49am
    "Why be a partner and have to deal with the unfolding workforce shortage if you do not need the extra money that some partnerships bring."

    I locum full time and I make £180 000 without breaking a sweat and doing nothing more than basic GPing. How many partners make this much? Times have changed.

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  • All out strike until Hunt's head is on a plate .

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  • Actually asking for Hunt's resignation as a prerequisite to negotiations is a good idea . His clinging on to power will be seen as egotistical and intransigent as he is the author of these troubles .

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  • Whatever happens to the reputations of the politicians concerned will have little impact on them, as their public standing is so low anyway. They tend to roll with the punches. However, doctors going on all out strike for the first time in the history of the NHS may seriously damage the reputation of those concerned for the rest of their careers.

    Back in the (IIRC)1970s the consultants were rather cleverer in their battle with the government. They threatened mass resignation. This ensured they could carry on providing full services to patients, safeguard their future careers, maintain good public opinion and at the same time put the government in an untenable situation unless they caved in, which, of course, they did.

    Just a thought.... what do the medical defence organisations say about this? It is quite likely that some patients will be put at risk and highly unlikely that none will complain.

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  • good on them. Iam with them. wish our GP friends have the same guts.

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  • Hunt is begging for resignations from doctors . He will accept them and the allow the NHS to collapse and blame the doctors . This is why he is "digging in" and provoking the strike. This is an orchestrated tory plan and is not just hunts work. Thatcher building up coal reserves before the miners strike -ring any bells?

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  • Here’s why this industrial action won’t work in the long term:
    www.healthcrash.co.uk

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  • I would like some advice from the BMA about what is expected/ hoped for from GPs during a strike.
    I saw the information about GP registrars and it was useful.

    But what if we are asked to alter our management during the strike. We tend to get a message every week about the hospital having fewer beds, using new admission avoidance steps etc etc. Sometimes when they ask if an admission can wait until the following morning if they need hospital type investigation but are not in immediate danger. If we are asked to alter practice in that way should we;

    A - do so - meaning the hospital can safely manage other emergencies.
    B - refuse to do so because it undermines the industrial action.

    I am leaning more towards option B. But think we should be getting some more direction on this matter.

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  • Good luck to the Junior Drs , I hope they win this argument.
    As to what the strike is for, it is obviously to force the government to be honest with the public that the NHS is inadequately funded . Cutting t+c of Doctors will result in a poorer quality NHS. It will then fail . If this strike makes the Government be honest about the funding and forces a debate on funding health care , then it may actually save the NHS.

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  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11993998/Doctors-could-be-struck-off-if-strike-harms-patients.html

    Looks like the regulator has been dragged into this too.

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