The British Medical Association (BMA) have announced that junior doctors in Hampshire will go on strike next week following the collapse of negotiations between the Government and NHS employers.
Three separate strikes are due to take place, with walkouts beginning next Tuesday. Doctors will provide emergency care only from 8am Tuesday 12th January to 8am Wednesday 13th January. This will repeat the following week on Tuesday 26th January until 8am Thursday 28th January. Full walkouts will take place on Wednesday 10th February from 8am to 5pm.
Junior doctors will be taking action over new working conditions in their contracts that they claim will “overwork” doctors and therefore increasing chances of mistakes as well as putting patients lives and quality of care at risk.
The BMA announcing that 98% of members voted in favour of the strikes, and 99% voted in support of industrial action short of a strike. According to the BMA, over 37,000 doctors were balloted and 76% took part in the vote.
The strikes were originally intended to take place in December 2015, but were called off after promise of negotiations with the Government. However, BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter said: “After weeks of further negotiations, it is clear that the Government is still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously“.
“The Government has repeatedly dragged its feet throughout this process, initially rejecting our offer of talks and failing to make significant movement during negotiations.
We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the Government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand.”
Medical Society President Iona Maxwell told Wessex Scene,
“After weeks of attempted negotiations it is disappointing that the government have not been able to come up with a contract which satisfies the BMA’s concerns over patient and doctor safety. No doctor wants to go on strike but it now seems to be the only option. Jeremy Hunt has wasted this opportunity to negotiate and although in the short term a strike may inconvenience patients, in the long term it seems to be the only way to guarantee their safety – by showing the government that doctors will not settle for a contract which is unfair and unsafe. We medical students will be showing support for our juniors throughout the coming months and hope that they continue to fight for their and our futures”.