The first full walk-out of junior doctors in the history of the NHS has been announced.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has said it will escalate the second of two planned strikes by junior doctors next month in response to Government’s “continued refusal” to budge on its bid to impose a new contract on trainees by August.
Amid a dispute over the terms of the proposed deal – branded “unsafe and unfair” by critics – juniors have staged three strikes so far. The next is a 48-hour ‘emergency care only’ walk-out from April 6 at 8am.
A further 48-hour partial strike was planned from April 26 at 8am but the BMA yesterday said it will now be a “full withdrawal of labour” from 8am to 5pm on both April 26 and 27.
Junior doctors represent a third of the medical workforce and there are 6,000 trainee posts in Yorkshire. The BMA has around 37,700 members.
Dr Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, said: “In refusing to lift imposition and listen to junior doctors’ outstanding concerns, the Government will bear direct responsibility for the first full walk-out of doctors in this country.”
He urged Government to return to the negotiating table, weeks after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced its controversial contract will be imposed later this year.
The dispute surrounds extra pay for ‘unsocial hours’ and the removal of working hour safeguards.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “This escalation of industrial action by the BMA is both desperate and irresponsible – and will inevitably put patients in harm’s way.”
She said Government’s plans are backed by NHS leaders.