Junior doctors in England will strike next Tuesday, after meetings with the government failed to reach an agreement on conditions for the new junior doctors contract.
Members from the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS Employers and the Department of Health have been participating in discussions to reach an agreement over a new contract since September.
A strike was planned on the 30th November last year due to a lack of agreement, but was cancelled the day before it was due to commence as the representatives re-entered talks with the government.
Monday was the deadline the BMA had given to the government to come to an agreement on certain issues.
Junior doctors will stage a walkout at 8am on 12th January for 24 hours, only providing cover for A & E and emergency surgeries. The walkout will be followed by 48 hours days of industrial action on 26th January, and a complete withdrawal of labour on 10th February.
The main areas of disagreement surround Jeremy Hunt’s plan to scrap the system of automatic annual pay rises for junior doctors, and to increase the ‘sociable’ working hours so that doctors will be paid less for working evenings and weekends.
Although the government claim this will be offset by an 11% rise in basic pay, many junior doctors feel they will end up working more hours for less pay and this will have a detrimental impact on patient care.
Back in November thousands of Junior Doctors, medical students and other health professionals took to Victoria Square in Leeds City Centre to protest against the proposed changes to the junior doctors’ contracts.
Nick Spencer, a Leeds University medical student, said “It’s an unfortunate situation; however it seems the government has left the BMA and junior doctors with no option but to go ahead with strike action.
Negotiations seem to have been partially fruitful; however there are still key areas of disagreement that remain unchecked, leaving a contract offer that is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors […] yes, strikes will cause disruption, but it is no doctors’ desire for any harm to come to patients. When 98% of the 37000 balloted doctors vote for strike, you know something isn’t right.”