Junior doctors set to take strike action after latest talks fail

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JUNIOR doctors in Wigan will join their colleagues across the UK in strike action next Tuesday.

This will be followed by a 48-hour strike action starting on January 26 and another day in February.

Talks between the Government and the British Medical Association (BMA) lasted less than an hour before doctors announced they would strike, the Health Secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt said the Government thought it was “making very good progress” in talks and he was disappointed the BMA had called strikes, but added that “the door is open”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There were 16 areas the BMA wanted to talk about.

“On Christmas Eve, they sent a message to their members saying there were two outstanding ones.

“Yesterday we met and we thought we had a solution to one of them and we were prepared to negotiate on the final one but the talks lasted less than an hour and they walked out and started the strikes going.”

Mr Hunt said he would “like to know” from the BMA’s chairman, Dr Mark Porter, what the other areas of contention were.

“The thing is though, when you’ve got something where you don’t think you’re making good progress you all should sit down and talk about it,” he said.

Mr Hunt added that “no government”wanted to cut doctors’ pay but changes must be made to increase weekend staffing levels.

Last year, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust said that any strike action would see affected patients advised by letter about any appointment changes.

Anyone in need of non-emergency medical help outside of GP opening hours, should contact the NHS 111 service by dialing 111 or contact the Wigan Out-of-Hours service on 01942 829911.