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Key reaction: Juniors announce five-day strike over imposed contract

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers

“Employers are shocked and saddened that the BMA Council has supported the call from the Junior Doctors Committee for further industrial action despite the BMA agreeing a deal with Employers and the government in May.

“The proposed action is extreme in its scale and timing and shows scant regard for patients, nor to their colleagues who will have to work under even greater pressure when this industrial action goes ahead.

“Trusts will be working hard to minimise disruption, but many thousands of operations and appointments will need to be cancelled or rearranged causing distress, delay and pain to our patients.”

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association

“We are gravely troubled by the new round of strikes planned and the catastrophic impact this will have on so many patients and their families. We are approaching winter and it is well documented that the cold weather brings with it additional challenges to tackle poor health. Combine winter pressures with an already stretched NHS, alongside a series of extended strike action and it will almost certainly result in a NHS crisis. The Patients Association agree that 7-day service would be beneficial for patients, but it must be fully funded. To deliver such ambitious plans requires significant financial investment and robust work force planning.”

“Ultimately industrial action will cause great disruption to so many patients, including people who have been waiting a long time for appointments and operations. Many patients may be very unwell or vulnerable and so we cannot predict the distress or pain this will cause to everyone this will affect. Above all else, the Government and the BMA must appreciate they are in a privileged position: words seem to come easy and cost very little to them, but to the public it is costing them a great deal in lost working days, anxiety, pain and uncertainty.

“I strongly urge the Department of Health to resume meaningful and sincere consultations and negotiations with the Junior Doctors, who are rightly concerned that new plans will risk patient safety.”

Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council


“Despite the progress made over the past year, the Government appears to be set on confrontation with the profession at the very time when we should be working constructively to find a solution to the concerns which, junior doctors have told us, makes the proposed new contract unacceptable. These are genuine issues, which go to the heart of how we ensure that there are enough doctors to deliver consistent, high-quality healthcare, not just this winter, but for the long-term.

“The JDC chair has committed the past two months to representing junior doctors’ outstanding concerns – the impact on those working less than full time (often women, now making up the majority of the medical profession) and on particular specialties, such as A&E trainees – to the secretary of state on the need to resolve these issues. As late as yesterday, we met the secretary of state once more to urge him to stop the imposition of a contract in which junior doctors have no confidence.

“We have been quite clear – if the secretary of state stops the imposition and agrees to negotiate, we will stop the action.”

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