Junior doctors vote to strike next month

19 Nov 15

Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action next month in the dispute over changes to pay arrangements and working hours.

Results of the British Medical Association ballot revealed that 98% of junior doctors backed strike action, while 99.4% voted in support of industrial action short of a strike. Three quarters of junior doctors (76%) took part in the ballot.

Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “We regret the inevitable disruption that [industrial action] will cause but it is the government’s adamant insistence on imposing a contract that is unsafe for patients in the future, and unfair for doctors now and in the future, that has brought us to this point.”

He added that the BMA remained committed to avert strike action and had approached ACAS for conciliatory talks.

The BMA has issued a schedule of industrial action, which would see the provision of emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on 1 December. Full walkouts are planned from 8am-5pm on both 8 December and 16 December.

Responding to the vote, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, called the ballot result “disappointing” and disrupting for patients and their families.

“NHS organisations are now working hard to keep disruption to a minimum but it is inevitable that appointments will be postponed, surgery rearranged and clinics closed,” he said.

“By taking the unprecedented step of not providing emergency cover for two of their days of action, the BMA are putting the NHS and their colleagues under even greater strain during one of its busiest periods impacting even further on our ability to provide safe and effective care for our patients.”

Mortimer urged the BMA to come back to the table for talks.

“The new contract offers increases in basic pay, concrete safeguards on working hours and pay protection to ensure that doctors won't lose out. I think the public will question why the BMA are causing such significant disruption when the offer of talks remains open.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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