BMA considers plans after suspending junior doctor strikes

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 26 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i5213
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

The BMA is considering its plans for further action after announcing that three rounds of planned strikes by junior doctors in England have been suspended.

After a meeting of its Junior Doctors Committee on Saturday 24 September, the BMA announced that the planned series of five day strikes in October, November, and December would not go ahead.1 The association said that it was planning other actions to resist a new contract for junior doctors in England.

The BMA said that the decision to suspend the strike action was made after feedback from doctors, patients, and the public and after discussions with NHS England about the NHS’s ability to maintain a safe service if the planned action went ahead.

At the meeting on Saturday, Ellen McCourt, who had been acting as interim chair of the committee, was elected as chair.

Commenting on the decision to suspend strike action, McCourt said, “We still oppose the imposition of the contract and are now planning a range of other actions in order to resist it, but patient safety is doctors’ primary concern, and so it is right that we listen and respond to concerns about the ability of the NHS to maintain a safe service.”

McCourt said that she hoped the government would use the opportunity to engage with junior doctors and listen to their concerns.

“Our fight does not end here. For many people this whole dispute has turned on how the NHS will assure quality care over seven days,” she said.

“It has highlighted the need for an open and honest debate led by the BMA on how this will be achieved. We call on our colleagues across the medical profession, other healthcare professionals, and the government and patient groups to engage with junior doctors on this.”

The new contract for junior doctors in England is set to be imposed from October, in a phased process starting with senior obstetrics trainees.2


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