This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs ‘strongly advised’ to cancel trainee clinics on strike days

GPs ‘strongly advised’ to cancel trainee clinics on strike days

GP practices have been ‘strongly advised’ to cancel any clinics scheduled for GP trainees on the upcoming industrial action days, as junior doctors prepare to walk out for the second time this year.

Junior doctors demanding pay restoration are being instructed not to begin any shift that is due to start after 06:59 on Tuesday 11 April or return to work before 06:59 hours on Saturday 15 April.

The BMA confirmed that the industrial action will take the form of a full stoppage of work, including night shifts, on-call shifts, and non-resident work.

Last month, junior doctors undertook a 72-hour walkout after more than 36,000 doctors voted in favour of strikes last month and practices had been encouraged to show support.

In the guidance, the union said: ‘We know some patients are booked into clinics in advance and we are also aware that some important results ordered by GP trainees may come into the practice on strike days.

‘We would suggest having an early conversation with your trainees to identify any patients who may need to have their appointments rescheduled or who may require urgent action on the days of industrial action.’

The BMA also said that while GP trainees are an important part of the practice team, they are supernumerary to the workforce of the practice.

‘At no point should the effective running of the practice be dependent on the attendance of GP trainees, and they should not be used as a substitute for a locum in the practice,’ said the union.

The guidance also said that since ‘this fight is not against GP practices’ trainees who are taking part in industrial action were encouraged to join bigger protests at their nearby hospitals.  

The BMA also confirmed that there will be no derogation of services negotiated at any level during the strike period, with the exception of the current arrangements to recall staff in specific circumstances.

In a message to local practices, Mid and South Essex trust’s medical director Dr David Walker said: ‘Primary care may need to reduce routine care to maintain safe care where affected by the industrial action.

‘It may not be possible to use the normal phone lines into hospitals as they are usually manned by medical registrars and there will only be limited cover.’

In a joint letter to staff, NHS England’s national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis and Sir chief operating officer David Sloman said: ‘Junior doctors are also valued members of general practice in training practices.

‘While capacity and staffing levels in general practice may also be impacted by junior doctors taking strike action, GP contractors are responsible for maintaining patient access to appropriate care on industrial action days.’

Meanwhile, a London hospital trust was criticised after a staff message targeting striking staff on sponsored visas was shared on social media.

The post said any striking doctor with ‘a visa sponsored by the Trust’ would be reported ‘to the Border Force.’

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust responded saying that the message was not trust policy and was sent by an individual to ‘a local WhatsApp group.’

Dr Latifa Patel, BMA representative body chair and workforce lead, said the report ‘unnecessarily’ instilled fear and doubt in the minds of junior doctors with visas over their legal right to take strike action.

She said: ‘We, the BMA, are clear that we will not take any form of industrial action that will impact the legal status of a doctor’s visa – either future or present. We urge the Trust to do everything possible to reassure junior doctors that this is absolutely not true.

‘We will fully support any eligible member subjected to detriment as a result of supporting this strike action and we encourage any doctor who is concerned about this or any other issue to contact the BMA for support.

‘To employers – we remind you of your responsibility to act professionally – we have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment.’

Last month, GPs spoke in support of junior doctors and trainees as thousands of them striked all over the country to demand pay restoration.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dave Haddock 5 April, 2023 6:53 pm

No need.
None of ours striking.