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Strike action will intensify winter pressures on A&E, say NHS leaders

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4994 (Published 14 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4994
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Junior doctors’ planned strike action will intensify winter pressures on accident and emergency departments, making overall care for hospitals “enormously difficult,” NHS leaders have told MPs.

Witnesses appearing before the parliamentary health committee on 12 September for its inquiry into winter planning in emergency departments underlined the likely disruption ahead.

MPs asked what effects the upcoming strikes by junior doctors were likely to have on emergency department pressures. The BMA has announced three strikes—all lasting five days—in October, November, and December in protest against the new junior doctors’ working contract due to be imposed from next month.1

Health minister Philip Dunne, giving evidence, said, “This is a subject of intense interest and scrutiny from within the department to ensure that we are in as good a place as we can be as winter approaches.

“In that context, the threatened action by junior doctors is clearly not welcome. It is perplexing that the current leadership of …

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