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A faulty production line

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

    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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  • 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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