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Junior doctors’ strike to go ahead next week after talks fail

Next week’s planned junior doctor strike action will go ahead after talks with the Government have failed to produce an agreement over the contract.

The BMA confirmed the strike today, but said that junior doctors would still provide emergency care on 10 February instead of the ‘all out’ action originally planned.

It comes as the 48-hour action planned for 26-28 January was called off in favour of further talks facilitated by Acas.

Junior doctors already walked out on 12 January, but still provided emergency care.

The BMA said in a statement: ’Despite the best efforts of our negotiating team, and hours of talks facilitated by Acas, we have not managed to reach agreement with NHS Employers and the Department of Health on the new junior doctors contract.

’As a result, the industrial action we planned for 10 February will be going ahead. However, rather than the planned full walkout, the action will mirror that of 12 January. Junior doctors in England will be offering emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on Wednesday 10 February to 8am Thursday 11 February.’

Pulse has learnt from more than one source over the weekend that the Government walked out of talks ‘mid-conversation’, but this was denied by both the BMA and the DH.

The Department of Health said its position is that they want the BMA to return to the table for negotiations and call off the action.

A DH spokesperson said it was ’regrettable that the BMA is proceeding with further unnecessary industrial action’ and that the Government wants ’to settle this so that we can improve the standard of care for patients at weekends.’

On Friday, an Acas spokesperson said the two sides had adjourned negotiations and that the two parties were ’considering their positions’.