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GP practices could be picketed in junior doctor action, says BMA

GP training practices could be picketed during the junior doctor industrial action if this goes ahead next month, the BMA has said.

The BMA has issued guidance specifically for GP practices explaining that trainees in a GP practice placement are not allowed on hospital picket lines as this is not their place of work.

It adds that practices should remember they are not themselves being picketed, and they should support their trainees’ actions.

But the guidance said that this aside, GP practices should not be directly affected by the action, as they should not be relying on ‘supernumerary’ trainees for day-to-day running of the practice anyhow.

The guidance comes as the BMA is expected to announce the result of the ballot tomorrow.

The BMA is urging GP practices to support the industrial action, planned for three dates in December pending the results of the ballot of junior doctor members, by not obstructing or discouraging junior doctors in their ‘legitimate’ right to take part.

The guidance added that trainees intending to take part in the action should discuss this with their practice in advance.

A recent Pulse survey showed that eight out of 10 GPs support junior doctors in taking action over the contract fallout with the Government.

The BMA guidance says: ’An employee is allowed to peacefully picket at or near their place of work on the basis that they are taking Protected Industrial Action. It would not be possible for GP trainees in a GP practice placement to join their colleagues in picket lines at hospitals as they would no longer be picketing at or near their place of work.

’The rules on industrial action mean that technically speaking, any industrial action taken by individuals has to be against their employer. For those GP trainees directly employed by practices, which is the case for the majority of GP trainees in their practice placement, they would therefore be technically taking action against the practice. 

‘It is important to remember, however, that the reason for the action would be the dispute with the Government on the imposition of a new contract for doctors in training, rather than any problem with you as a practice.’ 

The GPC said it is not expecting GP practices to see any surge in patients who would otherwise have attended A&E.

Deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ’We’ve produced guidance for practices on what to do if industrial action is taken. On this issue I wouldn’t anticipate a “huge surge” in that A+E sees relatively small numbers of patients compared with the far larger number of patients the practices in the same area will see every day.’

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.

Read the full guidance here



Readers' comments (14)

  • practices in East Midlands were long ago told the trainees were NOT supernumerary as there was such a crisis in workforce.

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  • I would invite the in for a cup of tea.If there was any justice we should have had a similar vote or been able to protest with/for them.

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  • Trainees? Supernumerary? These people must have been to different practices to mine, then.

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  • Fine
    I support them 150 percent
    Shows ethical backbone so sadly lacking in the completely pathetic GPC
    Surely now GPC with the outrageous increase in costs such as CQC and medical indemnity you should lead a strike also ideally in combination with the consultants also
    If not I for one am going to stop bma subscription and move to organisations such as resilient GP and NHA which actually represent the profession
    I am waiting.

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  • ST1 and ST2 GP trainees will be working in hospitals is 2 months time. How stupid to say they are not allowed to be in solidarity with their peers and picket outside the hospitals. There are usually only 1-2 GP trainees in a practice at a time so that'll be a good protest, won't it?

    Personally, I would love to join them on the picket line myself because they are doing what GPs should have done 5 years ago.

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  • It is our duty to support their backs with our speciality and to not sit comfortably in our rooms but use our so-called "place" in society. Patients have a right to understand what is truly happening to us and human lives.

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  • Vinci Ho

    No hesitation to support them.

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  • We all need to support them and raise awareness. when its our turn to strike (hopefully soon) then we hope they will support us to.

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  • 2 trainees on a picket line, everyone else wearing a badge in support and handing out leafets, not perfect but important

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  • yep agreed!!

    good luck guys!

    We are with you and we support any practice that does the right thing by their juniors. we need to stand with our juniors on this. We can also work to ensure patients that we will be prepared to work harder to keep them safe during the strike. this would then also work to nullify the governments argument that the strike is putting patients at risk.

    - anonymous salaried.

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