17:20 This evening we are leading with comments made today by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons on tomorrow’s planned all-out strike by junior doctors.
As a result of the strike action over the next two days, some GP practices in England will be extending their opening hours to help deal with extra demand resulting from, the health secretary has claimed.
16:05 The BMA’s junior doctor committee are trying to ‘bring down the Government and health secretary Jeremy Hunt,’ a source has told the BBC, an accusation the BMA branded ‘ridiculous’.
The BBC reports that a Government source alleged that the BMA have radicalised ‘a generation of junior doctors’ and stated that the two all-out strikes were aimed at ‘toppling the government’.
Mr Hunt is expected to make a statement shortly in the House of Commons on the imposition of the junior doctor contract, and tomorrow’s industrial action.
14:28 Although 99.7% of junior doctors are against changes due to be imposed in the junior doctor contract, just 78% intend to participate in the full walkout over the next two days.
But when asked to clarify why, it turned out less than 5% of those not striking intended to ‘cross the picket lines’, while the remainder were ineligible to strike either because they were not scheduled to work during those hours or were not on NHS contracts.
The statistics, unveiled in a survey carried out by Justice for Health, the junior doctor group which is suing Jeremy Hunt claiming the imposition is unlawful, also found that 98.8% of doctors feel confident that patients will be safe during the strike days.
12:20 Eurosceptic MP, and leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling has said the junior doctor dispute could be resolved by leaving the EU, reports The Telegraph.
He suggested that the Government could use ‘savings’ from EU contributions to continue to give annual pay rises to junior doctors – something that will be axed with the imposition of the new contract.
Mr Grayling said: ‘Getting to a proper seven-day NHS could make a real difference to this country. It would be so much easier to pay for that change if we took back control of our £350m a week contribution to the EU and spent it on our priorities.
‘For example, the money at the heart of the current doctors dispute is just 5% of our overall annual contribution. We shouldn’t be spending billions on the EU that could make our NHS better and help deal with its current challenges.’
11:35 It’s all about the junior doctors’ contract row this morning, as they gear up to go on all-out strike on tomorrow and Wednesday.
Earlier this morning, a junior doctor announced his intention to resign live on TV, over the ongoing dispute about the new contract set to be imposed by the Government.
Dr Ben White told ITV’s Good Morning Britain how junior doctors feel ‘backed into a corner’ – adding that how there was ‘not a lot of sense coming from the Government’s side of things’.
The all-out strike is due to start at 8am tomorrow, a move that NHS England said has already resulted in 125,000 cancelled operations and appointments.
Dr White expressed sympathy for the people affected by the strike but insisted that he had an obligation ‘to fight on behalf of patients and fight for the NHS’.
11:05 Elsewhere this morning, a junior doctor has tweeted that while protesting outside the Department of Health’s Richmond House HQ, health secretary Jeremy Hunt was driven just a few yards up the road from Downing Street to his office – to avoid having to face junior doctors, she claims.
— Roshana Mehdian (@RoshanaMN) April 25, 2016
9:30 Good morning and welcome to the live blog.
The BMA has not ruled out taking permanent industrial action over the ongoing dispute with the Government over the imposition of the new junior doctor contract.
The Guardian reports that leaked emails to HSJ from the BMA’s junior doctor committee last week outlined the possible ways the action could be stepped up, including a ‘permanent walkout, the mass resignation of trainees and a recommendation that doctors seek jobs outside the NHS’.
It comes as junior doctors prepare to hold an all-out strike on 26 and 27 April this week, in which they will not provide emergency care.