NHS junior doctors will stage ‘full walkout’ in December strikes
- Credit: PA WIRE
London medics will join junior doctors nationwide in a ‘full walkout’ for two days next month.
The dates planned are Tuesday December 8 and Wednesday December 16 and only emergency care will be offered on Tuesday December 1, after 98 per cent voted in favour of industrial action, the BMA has announced.
Doctors represented by the BMA - NHS doctors’ union the British Medical Association - are furious at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed changes to their contracts.
Ballot results released to members show just 546 of the 28,316 junior doctors who returned ballot papers voted against the strike action.
The BMA said today the ballot result represents “the strength of feeling in the profession” over the contract the government plans to impose from August 2016, and said at this point ACAS, the independent adjudication service, should be called in to resolve the dispute.
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A BMA statement released this morning said it has “been left with no alternative”.
Dr Katie Knight, 29 a paediatric registrar at the Homerton until last month, told the Gazette that she could see ‘dangers’ inherent in the contracts the government was threatening to impose.
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“We think it will be unfair. We think we will end up working more hours than we’re contracted to at the moment,” she said.
“It will affect patient safety. It will affect our training as we won’t get the contact with senior consultants that we do now.”
All doctors who are not consultants, including many with up to 15 years experience, are classified as junior doctors.
Critics say the proposed contract will reclassify normal working hours and remove vital safeguards that discourage hospital trusts from making doctors work dangerously long hours.
The BMA says “normal hours” will be changed to 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.
Extra payments for unsociable working will be earned only outside these times, rather than after 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday as currently.
A Department of Health spokesman denied this was a ‘cost cutting exercise’. “The proposal will improve patient safety by better supporting a seven-day NHS,” he said.
“This contract will not impose longer hours and we will ensure that the great majority are at least as well paid as they would be now.”