Junior doctors’ strike next week is suspended, BMA announcesBMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4821 (Published 05 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4821
The BMA has decided to suspend planned industrial action by junior doctors in England next week, after discussions with NHS England.
The BMA said that although it had provided more than the legally required seven days’ notice ahead of industrial action, NHS England had said that it needed more time to plan for the escalated action.
Earlier this month the BMA said that junior doctors would stage a series of actions, comprising full withdrawal of labour between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm for five consecutive weekdays: during 12-16 September; 5-7 October and 10-11 October; 14-18 November, and 5-9 December.1
Although next week’s action is suspended, the action planned for October, November, and December will go ahead unless the government calls off its plans to impose a contract that has been rejected by junior doctors, the BMA said.
Commenting on the announcement, Ellen McCourt, chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said, “Our hospitals are chronically understaffed, our NHS is desperately underfunded—we have to listen to our colleagues when they tell us that they need more time to keep patients safe.”
McCourt said that thousands of junior doctors had been in touch with the BMA. Referring to them she said, “Your level of anger over the secretary of state’s imposed contract remains high, but at the same time you want to keep your patients safe during industrial action.”
She added, “Future action is still avoidable. The BMA has repeatedly said it will call off further action if the government puts a halt to plans to force junior doctors to work under a contract they have rejected because they don’t believe it is good for the future of patient care or the profession.
“I urge Jeremy Hunt to put patients first, listen to our concerns, and end this dispute through talks.”