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NHS managers warn junior doctors against participating in Tuesday strike

NHS England and Health Education England have written directly to all junior doctors in England to tell them strike action will ’make it much harder to reach an agreement’ by causing ’a hardening of attitudes’.

The letter, sent by NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Employers at the request of Department of Health-appointed lead negotiator for the Government Sir David Dalton, also lists a number of new concessions in the Janaury proposal for a new junior doctor contract that was rebuffed by the BMA earlier this week.

These include, for example: guaranteed 48-hour breaks after three or four consecutive night shifts or five long days; maximum eight consecutive working days; and a ‘guardian of safe working’ to be appointed at every hospital trust.

But on the key point of enhanced pay for evening and weekend working, the letter offered no concession, stating that the current definition of Saturday and evening work as unsociable hours ’are out of line with the wider economy and that comparator groups to doctors generally do not receive unsocial hours enhancements’.

The letter said: ’As doctors in training, you will now be wrestling with the difficult decision as to whether to participate in the action. Inevitably strike action that disrupts patient care can lead to a hardening of attitudes and make agreement more difficult.

’The action the BMA has announced, particularly withdrawing emergency cover, potentially makes reaching an agreement much harder.’

It comes as the BMA and Government negotiators were due to reconvene talks led by mediator Acas today, with a view to avoid a strike called for Tuesday next week.

Readers' comments (30)

  • Oooh scary

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  • Actually, I think 2% are wrestling with the decision to walk out on Tuesday; the other 98% are quite happy with it. Given this bully-boy tactic, I would think the 2% are wrestling somewhat less than they were.

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  • there is a complete lack of trust so discontent is going to continue.

    there are only two scenarios

    a) the government agree to negotiate and come up with an agreement to keep the status quo.

    b) the government ignores strike action and push through the changes.

    how can any scenario be good for doctors i.e. if i was a junior i would not be happy with the status quo and if the government pushes through the changes i would be looking for an exit. these options are a lose-lose for NHS staff and a win-win for government. either NHS staff shoulder the cost of ths NHS or the NHS goes - either way it costs the state less. we need to start thinking about what other options we have. For primary care it is easy - back to true independent practice bypassing the state.

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  • John Glasspool

    "guardian of safe working" Since this will be a management poodle in every trust and a government lapdog, such a person is as much use to the juniors as a chocolate wheelbarrow.

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  • Dr Mike Durkin
    National Director for
    Patient Safety
    NHS England

    Professor Ian Cumming
    Chief Executive
    Health Education England

    Daniel Mortimer
    Chief Executive
    NHS Employers

    The letter was signed by the above. Nuff said.

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  • NO Trust in these people from NHSE,No quarter given.

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  • Correct response; Arkell vs Pressdram (1971).

    They're frit. Hold the line, brothers and sisters. Those of us trapped in Cardie land are depending on you to show we won't all lie down while Jezza steamrollers over us.

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  • its your right to strike!!

    these people only care when they cant abuse you and have empty rotas

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  • Power to the people

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  • "current definition of Saturday and evening work as unsociable hours ’are out of line with the wider economy and that comparator groups to doctors generally do not receive unsocial hours enhancements"
    That's because comparator groups to doctors don't routinely get rostered to work out of hours ( eg lawyers). Unless of course we are being compared to tesco shelf stackers. There is nothing wrong with tesco shelf stackers but they deal in tins of food not people's lives

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