Junior doctors escalate industrial action by planning all-out strikes next month
- Credit: Archant
Junior doctors say they have been ‘forced to escalate action’ along with their colleagues after government talks failed.
Planned strikes on April 26 and 27 have been extended to a full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm, which means emergency care will no longer be provided by junior doctors across the UK, including at Newham University Hospital.
It is believed to be the first time doctors have refused to provide emergency care in the history of the NHS. The Department of Health has branded the full walk-out as “desperate and irresponsible”.
Some 98 per cent of junior doctors who were balloted supported taking industrial action, including an all-out strike, according to the British Medical Association.
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “No junior doctor wants to take this action but the government has left us with no choice. In refusing to lift imposition and listen to junior doctors’ outstanding concerns, the government will bear direct responsibility for the first full walkout of doctors in this country.
“The government is refusing to get back around the table and is ploughing ahead with plans to impose a contract junior doctors have no confidence in and have roundly rejected.
“We want to end this dispute through talks but the government is making this impossible, it is flatly refusing to engage with junior doctors, has done nothing to halt industrial action and is wilfully ignoring the mounting chorus of concerns over its plans to impose coming from doctors, patients and senior NHS managers. Faced with this reality what else can junior doctors do?
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“We deeply regret the disruption to patients and our message to patients is clear; this action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition.”
The BMA has said that other doctors and staff will continue to provide care during the strikes.
An additional 48-hour strike, in which emergency care will be provided, will go ahead as planned, starting at 8am on Wednesday, April 6 and ending at 8am on Friday, April 8.
A spokeswoman for Barts Health NHS Trust, which manages Newham University Hospital, said: “We are taking steps to ensure that our staff continue to provide high standards of patient safety and care on strike days.
“The role of the trust is to provide safe and compassionate care for all our patients while also maintaining our duty of care to our own staff.
“Barts Health NHS Trust employs about 1,000 junior doctors at four major hospitals, of whom about two-thirds are BMA members.”