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A faulty production line

BMA to escalate junior doctors' strike action

Junior doctors have agreed to ‘escalate’ their action around the contract imposition, which would include ‘considering all options’.

In an email to junior doctors today, JDC chair Johann Malawana said: ‘The JDC voted today to move towards an escalation of its planned action.’

In a statement to Pulse, he said that the Government’s refusal to continue talks with junior doctors had left them with ‘no alternative but to consider all options open to them’.

There is no detail about what this escalation would involve, but they had planned earlier this year to withdraw all emergency cover, but did not go through with the action.

Junior doctors have already held a 48-hour strike since the imposition of the junior doctor contract, with two more planned for early and late April.

The BMA is also taking the Government to judicial review over the ‘embarrassing’ revelation that the Government failed to carry out an equality impact assessment before imposing a new contract on junior doctors in England.

But following the meeting today, the BMA is considering taking more action.

Dr Malawana said: ‘The Government’s refusal to get back around the table and to reach agreement through talks has left junior doctors with no alternative but to consider all options open to them.

‘Let me be clear, no junior doctor wants to have to take industrial action. Junior doctors want a negotiated settlement, but the Government is refusing to engage with the BMA.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt last month announced that he was imposing a contract on junior doctors after talks broke down over the issue of evening and weekend pay, with the Government refusing to step back from its decision to remove ‘unsociable hours’ pay premiums from Saturdays and weekday evenings.

What the imposed contract includes

The junior doctor contract imposed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt includes:

  • An increase in basic pay of 13.5%;
  • Redefining the definition of ‘plain time’ to include Saturday from 7am to 5pm;
  • Paying a premium of 30% for Saturday ‘plain time’ working, if the doctor works one in four weekends;
  • Reduce the definition of ‘safe hours’ from 91 to 72 hours a week;
  • Doctors will not work more than four consecutive nights – down from seven currently;
  • The maximum number of consecutive ‘long days’ will be reduced from seven to five;
  • A new ‘Guardian’ role will be introduced, with the authority to impose fines for breaches to agreed working hours, which will be invested in educational resources and facilities for trainees.

Read more here


Readers' comments (45)

  • Go Junior doctors, show them you mean business!!

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  • The only way to deal with a bully is to give him a bloody nose.

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  • Good - 100% backing.

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  • Junior doctors good luck to you! The govt needs you more than you need them.

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  • Hear, hear

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  • High risk strategy to withdraw emergency cover and I still wouldn't do that. However, a week-long elective walk out or two seems the next step to me. Or even an open-ended "emergency only" approach. Hunt would be fired and the PM would have no choice but to get his hands dirty. We have been ignored thus far.

    Keep going, whatever.

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  • The bullies in this case are the militant doctors, who, like their seniors believe they are above everyone else. This is fair deal, get real and start living in the real world. Hunt is right not to give in.

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  • medicine tastes awful

    On a contract that is cost neutral and no increase in staff and then stretching the service from 5 days to 7 days is not acceptable.
    Juniors need a serious blow to MR Hunt - go 4 it. Show Mr Hunt u mean business and rest of the profession is behind you. I hope the consultants would reject their contracts 'if' juniors do not succeed in their pursuit.

    En-mass resignation would scare the man!
    Best of luck- this contact has no sustainability or legs for the longterm.

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  • |Anonymous | Other healthcare professional|18 Mar 2016 7:02pm
    Remember - whoever you are - you are a healthcare professional and will soon be working 7 days at plain time if JH wins this round. The next round will be other healthcare professionals. he cannot have a 7 day "normal" service without nurses, Physios, OTs, porters, secretaries, OPD Nurses, radiographers, etc etc etc.

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  • 7.02pm, The bullies in this case are people like you who believe you are above everyone else. This is not a fair deal for juniors, they are getting real and they have been living in the real world for a long time.

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  • These guys do not understand any other language, only strike will work

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  • I wish people would be more honest about the imposed contract - when simplified like this it looks so reasonable.

    But the suggested rotas are not keeping to the definitions as above (e.g. theory of no consecutive weekend yet one of them had an instance of no less than 3 consecutive weekends), they say at lest 24 hours off after a night shift and one of them had just 8 hours off after nights.

    The contract about to be imposed has not even been written yet, for goodness sake.

    It is blindingly obvious that a 7 day routine service means spreading things thinner in he week. This may well equalise mortality rates across the week (if indeed they are down to junior doctor staffing levels), but to the lowest denominator - i.e. making weekdays as "dangerous" as weekends.

    Any fule kno that it's not doctors who make difference to mortality, but nurses, plus porters, secretaries, radiographers, physics etc. If Mr *unt wanted to reduce weekend mortality he would be better off investing in the nurses and support staff. If he wants a "truly 7 day NHS" then he needs to increase funding by 40%.

    If what he really wants is his own miners strike, to prove politically how strong he is, then he is going the right way about it, but junior doctors are really not the same as miners. Alienate the junior docs and they will leave the job. Bear in mind the aim of the miners strike was to get rid of the miners and close the mines. If you get rid of the junior docs you will have to close the hospitals. I wonder if he has thought this through. I know he plans to privatise it, but even the private hospitals will need doctors...

    We all need to support the junior docs to get a safe deal for patients.

    I can't see why the government don't accept the BMA proposed contract, which is after all cost neutral, and the headline features of it are really not much different to the summary above. The only reason I can see is that this is about politically posturing.

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  • Support this 100%. Withdrawing emergency care makes me nervous though. I am guessing seniors and locums would absorb the impact which is fine, but I wonder if a week long elective strike might achieve more.

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  • Only a month long strike will make a difference. Juniors should be on standby for emergencies. Consultants should also walk out for routine care at the same time.

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  • The fines that are being proposed if Juniors work more that 52 hours
    are a sick joke. It is likely that the hospital will simply say that they have no money, or they will pay a derisory amount that is so small compared to paying the correct amount to fill the shifts there will be no disincentive.
    Does the Gov. think the Junior Doctors will simply roll over, I hope that they keep on fighting.

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  • medicine tastes awful

    Independent 8.3.2016
    "Jeremy Hunt fails to make any weekend visits to hospitals over 12 months
    The Health Secretary visited 20 hospitals between January and December 2015, but none of the visits took place on weekends"

    You will not get Mr Hunt to work on a weekend here is a tyrant who tell others what to do. Do not expect him to do a hospital visit without bodyguards, the juniors would 'hunt' him down.

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  • Vinci Ho

    My young comrades , grab the opportunity when the enemy is showing cracks and weaknesses:
    (1) I have to amend my previous saying; one day of politics is too long. With the 'surprising' resignation of IDS, one would argue a few hours of politics is like a century. His argument of replacing DLA by PIP had gone too far certainly raised many eyebrows . It is inconceivable that he had not endorsed and agreed with Ozzy before the latter announced the budget on Wednesday . Suddenly , the ex-party leader had become the 'Saint' standing up against this current government run by his own party! What more melodrama would one prefer?
    (2) Nothing to do with the forthcoming EU referendum? Suddenly everybody has become a conspiracy theorist who is hard to be convinced. As my last long comment suggested , more will come as far as this mutiny driven referendum deeply dividing the Tory Party is concerned. Poor queenie got sucked into it as well!
    (3) Everybody in the party now has to think carefully which leader he/she should adhere to . Superficially , it seemed to Lord Vader against funny-haired guy . But the most ambitious person is , of course , Ozzy. He has a grand plan right from the beginning : the road to become the PM. As one of my favourite BBC news political editors , Laura Kuenssberg suggested in her article :A Budget Conspiracy?, Ozzy thought he had a cunning plot to fulfil his self-imposed target of achieving budget surplus in 2020 by actually delaying even more drastic cuts in public spending together with tax rises until 2019-2020 . Then he could play around with figures to give you an income outweighing deficit . But one has to remember deficit is nothing the same as debts . Quite frankly , I don't think Ozzy gives a damn about economic growth and national debts . Poor Mark Carney , muted after his comment on the referendum , had to bear with more uncertainties on the economy growth holding back more quantitative easing and hence raising interest rate. The conspiracy theory described by Laura was , in fact, an early general election could be called upon and Ozzy wanted to lead his party to beat the opposition party with a not so 'politically pretty' leader. So Ozzy then did not even need to reach this surplus in 2020.
    (4) But this is a fatal backstabbing by IDS on Ozzy: set up the trap for the Chancellor to go ahead to cut the disability benefits and two days later stepped down . The 'Saint' will now liberally campaign for the 'leave' camp.
    (5) So again , what are all these to us? Watch the space and the polling. Cameron will have to act fast to restore reputation and ensure no more holes would be blown out of the ship. Yes, Agent Hunt is a best mate but he has also become a liability of NHS, even more so if we are all carrying this solidarity forward. Best mate should make sacrifices saving the a*se of his buddy in crunch time ?Furthermore, if Ozzy really wants to be the PM , he needs a 'better' health secretary .......

    A old saying in Hong Kong,' While your enemy is ill, take his life ' .......

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  • IDS going is the perfect opportunity for Jezza to be shuffled off to a new brief and a new conciliatory ex Management Consultant Tory moron will head our way. Stand by your braziers, brothers and sisters.

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  • 'Considering all options' again means they are doing nothing.

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