Junior doctors: Escalating strike action may include 'first ever full walkout'

The plans for 'escalating' strikes will likely include the first ever full walkout by junior doctors

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Doctors' unions are planning a series of "escalating" strikes over controversial plans to impose a new contract on junior doctors

The junior doctors committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) intends to inform the NHS of a string of strikes, which would likely include the first ever full walkout by junior doctors if previous strike action fails.

The decision was revealed in a letter from the union leaked to the Daily Telegraph.

Doctor Johann Malawana, chairman of the BMA's junior doctors committee (JDC), wrote to members to say: “JDC has made the clear decision that further industrial action is inevitable and that we will consider escalating any action to achieve our aim to end the imposition.”

A full walkout by junior doctors would have a much larger impact than previous strike action, which kept emergency care in place.

The union previously planned a full walkout, but later scaled back the action. 

Dr Malawana added: “We know you are overstretched and that an imposed contract in August will only add to this.

"We also know – and the public understand this – that if the Government wants junior doctors to take the brunt of delivering more services across seven days, they need to put their money where their mouth is.

“It couldn’t be clearer to me that we now have a single and determined purpose: to end the imposition."

Proposed dates for new workouts have not yet been revealed.

Junior doctors say the new contract - which redefines what are considered "anti-social" working hours - is unsafe for patients, as doctors will have to work more unsocial hours.

The BHA rejected the Government's final offer and said it would "consider all options" for opposing the new contract.

A petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt now has over 320,000 signatures and will be considered for debate in Parliament.