Doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) announced plans for an “escalation” of strike action last night over the Government’s decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors.
The chairman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee (JDC), Dr Johann Malawana, wrote to medics to confirm that the JDC had “voted to move towards an escalation of its planned action”.
He said the “exact nature” of the action would be confirmed shortly. The union’s options include a full walkout by junior doctors, including those working in emergency services, or prolonged strikes extending beyond 48 hours.
In each of the junior doctor strikes so far, emergency staff have remained in post.
A&E doctors are among those most concerned about the new contract and pressure for a full walkout has been growing among BMA members frustrated that the union has so far proved powerless to prevent the Government imposing a new contract, which will come into effect in August, cutting pay for Saturday working in exchange for an uplift in basic pay.
“Today we heard strong voices at JDC highlighting the need to step up our action in the face of such Government obduracy,” Dr Malawana wrote to BMA members. “We have shown solidarity, stated our case clearly and passionately to the public, and done everything possible to avert what could be the worst of all worlds for junior doctors.
“This is why JDC voted today to move towards an escalation of its planned action. The exact nature of this action will be confirmed shortly. We know that no doctor wants to take such action but the refusal of the Government to get back around the table forces us down this road.”