Junior doctors to strike after 98 per cent if favour of action

Junior doctors and medical students at a protest in Leeds.
Junior doctors and medical students at a protest in Leeds.

Junior doctors will take strike action after overwhelmingly voting in favour of industrial action over changes to their contracts.

The first day of strike action will be held on December 1, followed by two further walkouts over contract changes which doctors say will lead to unsafe working hours and pay cuts.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The British Medical Association (BMA) secured a huge mandate for action, with 98 per cent voting for a strike and 99 per cent in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

More than 37,000 junior doctors in England were balloted.

On Tuesday, December 1, all junior doctors expect those on call for emergency cover will strike for 24 hours from 8am.

Then two full strikes by all junior doctors are planned on 8am-5pm on Tuesday, December 8, and from 8am-5pm Wednesday, December 16.

But the BMA told health secretary Jeremy Hunt that strikes could still be avoided if a better deal for doctors and patients was negotiated.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chairman, said: “We regret the inevitable disruption that this will cause but it is the government’s adamant insistence on imposing a contract that is unsafe for patients in the future, and unfair for doctors now and in the future, that has brought us to this point.

“Patients are doctors’ first priority, which is why, even with such a resounding mandate, we are keen to avert the need for industrial action, which is why we have approached Acas to offer conciliatory talks with the health secretary and NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting information coming from government over the past weeks.”