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Live blog: How the day of the junior doctors’ strike unfolded

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17:30 Pulse has learned that GPs were asked to work in a hospital’s medical assessment unit today to cover for absent junior doctors. Perhaps not surprisingly, not a single GP took up the offer.

And with that news, we are signing off for the evening. Thanks for following the news on a historic day. If you want to read more about the strike, there is plenty of content on the Pulse site, including:

We hope you have enjoyed the live blog – same time on 26 January? (Perhaps…)

16:50 The editor of the Pink News has said on twitter that his junior doctor partner had his shift ’redesignated as emergency’ to force him in to work today:

16:10 NHS England has released a statement on the strike today, claiming that 39% of the junior doctor workforce is working today and that patient care has been disrupted.

The statement released this afternoon said that 1,279 inpatient and 2,175 day case elective procedures had to be cancelled.

Anne Rainsberry, National Incident Director for NHS England, said: ’As expected, unfortunately, this action has caused disruption to patient care and we apologise to all patients affected.  It’s a tough day but the NHS is pulling out all the stops, with senior doctors and nurses often stepping in to provide cover.

’We are actively monitoring the situation across the country and the impact of the action is broadly in line with what we were expecting. NHS trusts are now working hard to reschedule cancelled tests, appointments and operations as soon as is possible.

’We will continue to work closely with hospitals and other NHS providers across the country to ensure that contingency plans are in place and that they can safely provide the urgent and emergency services needed.

’If people need medical help during the industrial action and it’s not an emergency they should consider NHS Choices, or visit their local pharmacy – or call their GP or NHS 111 for more serious matters. If their condition is an emergency or life-threatening they should call 999 as usual or go to A&E.’

15:15 The World Medical Association has given its support to striking junior doctors. Sir Michael Marmot, who led a major Government review into reducing health inequalities and is now president of the WMA, says it is ’clear that patient care would suffer in the long term if the Government’s proposals to change the working hours of junior doctors goes ahead’.

15:10 A lovely story in the Yorkshire Evening Post – striking doctors are hoping to help with the flood relief effort in nearby Kirkstall. Read more here.

13:45 We have a comment piece from Dr Nick Summerton, a GP and former NICE adviser, who bemoans a ’can’t be bothered’ attitude among junior doctors, and argues that doctors should not strike.

13:20 Jeremy Hunt has given his first interview of the day, on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, where he said the strike was a ‘wholly unnecessary dispute’. He pointed to figures of higher mortality rates at weekends, saying ’I can’t as health secretary sit back and ignore these studies.’

On further talks, he claimed that BMA representatives walked out after an hour of negotiations over safety measures.

He also claimed that junior doctors at Sandwell Hospital (see entry at 10:00) had gone back to work – against the BMA advice.


13:00 Sky News have just tweeted out an interview with Norman Williams, a senior clinical adviser to Jeremy Hunt, who was asked why the health secretary was not putting himself up for interview. Well worth a watch:

12:45 The chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, Dr Johann Malawana, has released a statement about the strikes across England. He says there are around 150 picket lines and ‘meet the doctor’ events.

He says: ’Today’s action sends a clear message to Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron. Junior doctors in their thousands have made it quite clear what they think of the government’s plans to impose contracts in which junior doctors have no confidence.

’Today’s action – one that the BMA has long sought to avoid – is a result of a fundamental breakdown in trust with junior doctors, for which the government is directly responsible. This has only been made worse by yesterday’s last minute, inept and heavy-handed attempts to bully junior doctors lawfully taking industrial action back into work.’

12:00 Pulse is at the Royal Free Hospital in North West London speaking to junior doctors:

11:45 Marlowe Park Medical Centre in Rochester has opted to display a poster on the window of its waiting room entrance door, showing its support for the junior doctor strike.

supporting junior doctors image

11:20 Pulse reporter Carolyn Wickware writes from the North West London GP practice: ’There is a strong sense of solidarity at the Abbey Wood Medical Centre between the partners and junior doctors. Many of the patients are engaging with the junior doctors to discuss the particulars of the dispute and walking away with green stickers in support.’

11:15  Commenting on today’s strike by junior doctors, GP and Labour’s London Assembly Health spokesperson Dr Onkar Sahota said: ’It’s time the Government recognises the incredible role junior doctors play and listened to their legitimate concerns. I urge the Government to heed the concerns of the junior doctors and for both sides to go back to sincere negotiations.’

10:55  Pulse reporter Carolyn Wickware is at Abbey Wood surgery in North West London, where GP trainees are handing out leaflets to patients:

10:00 Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich has ordered junior doctors to come into work. Local reporter David Callaghan says they have declared an ’internal capacity incident’.

The BMA have already reacted, with a spokesperson saying: ’Junior doctors should continue with industrial action until NHS England has confirmed and the BMA has agreed – via the agreed escalation process – that a major unpredictable incident is taking place for a specific Trust. The BMA will notify members as soon as such an incident is in place.’ 

09:40 The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health wrote to Jeremy Hunt yesterday all out in support of the industrial action. The president, Professor Neena Modi, expresses her ’disappointment’ that the negotiations led to ’intelligent…dedicated…and committed’ junior doctors having to take this decision. 

rcpch pic

09:30 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has ‘ducked’ reporters outside his home, the Mirror is reporting this morning. Although he had time to answer one question on whether there was enough money for seven-day services. ’There is,’ he replied.

09:14 The BBC headline this morning is ’Patients hit by junior doctors’ strike’ although the situation on the ground seems more complex. 

09:03 The first strike has officially started and Pulse will be with GP trainees who are taking action, with live updates here soon. The Telegraph has managed to find one junior doctor not on strike – he explains his reasons for not taking action here

08:50 Tuesday 12 January  Pulse spoke to Dr Renée Hoenderkamp, a GP ST3 trainee, who is staging a picket at her workplace the Abbey Medical Centre in northwest London along with two other registrars in the practice yesterday. She explained her reasons for striking: ’We will get less pay, which is demoralising for an already demoralised group of people.’ Read her full comments here.

We will get less pay, which is demoralising

17:30, Monday 11 January Welcome to our live blog on the junior doctors’ strike set to be held across England tomorrow.

We already have content for you ahead of the strike, including ourlead story on how GPs are being advised to cancel routine appointments.

Elsewhere, two GP trainees tell us why they are striking, while we have the BMA’s guidance for practices.

Meanwhile, BMA deputy chair Dr Kailash Chand explains why an overstretched workforce and not the strikes are putting patients at risk, and Through the K Hole provides his take on the situation.

On Tuesday, we will have reporters at GP practices where trainees will be taking part in picket lines, and we will have updates throughout the day. 

Send us your photos

If you are a GP trainee taking action, then please tweet a selfie to @pulsetoday or email and we will give you a shout-out on the blog