Junior Doctors to take strike action: Breakdown in talks over ‘unsafe’ hours


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PROTEST: Junior Doctors in Leeds gathered last year to show their opposition to proposed contract changes

PROTEST: Junior Doctors in Leeds gathered last year to show their opposition to proposed contract changes

Medical professionals in Yorkshire are set to stage a mass walk out later this month after talks to settle disputes over changes to their contracts broke down.

Junior doctors across England will participate in industrial action for the first time in 40 years from Tuesday 12th January, labelling proposals made by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as ‘disappointing’.

Previous strike action had been called off at the 11th hour in December when contract talks reopened with the government.

A statement provided by the British Medical Association earlier this week confirmed the latest development in the dispute.

“We re-entered talks with NHS Employers and the Department of Health in December around the junior doctors’ contract dispute,” the statement read.

“Those talks ended on Monday 4th January and, regrettably, without the significant progress we were seeking.

“As a result, junior doctors in England will be taking industrial action for the first time in 40 years.”

From 8am on Tuesday 12th January to 8am the following day, only emergency care will be carried out by the junior doctors.

A 48 hour strike, excluding emergency care, will then follow from 8am on Tuesday 26th January before a full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday 10th February.

Government officials and junior doctors have been on a collision course for over a year over disagreements on a new contract.

Mr Hunt has confirmed he wants to create more seven-day services but doctors argue that would stretch their resources too far and over-work them.

As a result, 98 per cent of junior doctors, represented by the British Medical Association (BMA), voted in favour of industrial action last year.

Dr Johann Malawana Chair, BMA junior doctors committee, said the BMA were unwilling to accept the conditions and walk-outs would now occur.

“As you will be aware, this is not the position which the BMA has sought, as demonstrated by the temporary suspension of industrial action at the end of November,” Dr Malawana said.

“We have consistently been clear that we want to reach a negotiated agreement to achieve a contract that is safe for patients, fair for junior doctors and sustainable for the NHS.

“This is critical to ensuring a first-class health service and the quality of care which we want for patients and I would like to reiterate my considerable regret that the Government’s offer does not allow us to move forward on this.”

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