Over 76 per cent of junior doctors voted in the ballot, with 99.4 per cent voting yes to question 1 – are you prepared to take industrial action short of a strike – and 98 per cent voting yes to question 2 – are you prepared to take industrial action including strike action – giving us a clear mandate to call for industrial action short of a strike and a full walkout.
While the BMA regrets the inevitable disruption that this will cause, junior doctors have clearly been left with no alternative but to consider strike action due to the Government’s continued threat to impose a contract that is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors.
We have always been clear that we want to reach a negotiated agreement. To this end, and even with such a resounding mandate, we are keen to avert the need for industrial action and have, therefore, approached ACAS to offer conciliatory talks with the health secretary and NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting information coming from the Government over the past weeks.
Should industrial action still be necessary, there will be implications for all of us, whether or not we are junior doctors. Last week, we published guidance for hospital doctors, GPs and clinical academics to help you prepare for the impact any industrial action may have on you and your workplace. We will update this guidance as we get closer to the planned days of action.
There will, inevitably, be disruption to hospital and GP services as a result of the industrial action. However, we are working to ensure that you, as clinical leaders and employers are given as much notice as possible to allow you to minimise that disruption and to develop plans to ensure that the necessary cover is in place. That is why, last week, we released the dates, times and type of action, as approved by BMA council. These are:
We all recognise the implications of the Government’s intransigence and how, while today the impact may be felt by junior doctors, it may just as easily be consultants, SAS doctors, academics, GPs or the next generation of doctors. That is why so many of you – including members of BMA council – have expressed your support for their fight for a contract that is fair for doctors and safe for patients.
We are committed to keeping you fully up to date with developments.
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