Junior doctors to stage all-out strike

Junior doctors during a previous walkout

Junior doctors during a previous walkout

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Junior doctors will stage an all-out strike in Wigan, it has been announced.

The British Medical Association has confirmed that it will escalate industrial action planned for April 26 as the Government is refusing to end the dispute over contracts through talks.

Instead of providing emergency care only for 48 hours as planned, the full junior doctors labour force will be withdrawn between 8am and 5pm on April 26 and April 27.

Other doctors and staff will continue to provide care during this time.

The 48-hour emergency care only action due to start at 8am on Wednesday, April 6, and end at 8am on Friday, April 8, will go ahead as planned.

The BMA has said the escalation follows the continued refusal by the government to step back from its decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors from August this year and resolve the dispute by re-entering talks.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust has been forced to postpone dozens of operations already this year as a result of previous walkouts.

In a ballot of junior doctors, 98 per cent of those who voted supported taking industrial action, including a full withdrawal of labour.

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “No junior doctor wants to take this action but the government has left us with no choice.

“In refusing to lift imposition and listen to junior doctors’ outstanding concerns, the government will bear direct responsibility for the first full walkout of doctors in this country.

“The government is refusing to get back around the table and is ploughing ahead with plans to impose a contract junior doctors have no confidence in and have roundly rejected.

“We want to end this dispute through talks but the government is making this impossible, it is flatly refusing to engage with junior doctors, has done nothing to halt industrial action and is wilfully ignoring the mounting chorus of concerns over its plans to impose coming from doctors, patients and senior NHS managers. Faced with this reality what else can junior doctors do?

“We deeply regret the disruption to patients and our message to patients is clear; this action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition.

“The rest of the UK has taken a different, constructive path on junior doctors’ contracts with only the Health Secretary in England choosing imposition over talks.

“The fact that tens of thousands of junior doctors have taken industrial action and 98 per cent of those who voted support action including a full withdrawal of labour, demonstrates the continued strength of feeling amongst junior doctors about this politically driven imposition.

“Junior doctors are committed to ensuring the best possible care for their patients and already work seven days a week, around the clock under the existing contract. In focusing on junior doctors, the government is seeking, yet again, to gloss over the fact that the biggest barrier to a seven-day NHS is not doctors’ contracts, but a chronic lack of investment and a shortage of staff3.

“For the sake of patients, doctors and the future of the NHS the government must put politics to one side, get back around the table and end this dispute through talks.”