Johann Malawana: we must maintain doctors’ goodwill

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 31 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1850
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. arimmer{at}

This month, for the first time in the history of the NHS, junior doctors plan to withdraw all labour during strike action. Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee talks to Abi Rimmer about what the future holds for this cohort of the profession.

Later this month, on 26 and 27 April, junior doctors in England will withdraw all labour during industrial action in protest against the government’s plan to impose a new contract on them.

Ben Gummer, undersecretary of state for care quality, said that if the planned action went ahead, it would be “unprecedented in the history of the national health service.”

Willingness to constructively engage

The decision to escalate the action—from the provision of emergency care only to a full withdrawal of labour—was not taken lightly, said Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee. “This is an historic point. It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I wish it didn’t have to come to this. The fact is that the government has pushed the junior doctors to this.”

All it would take to avert the action would be for the government to return to contract negotiations, he said. “What we want to do …

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