Junior doctors escalate strike in NHS row

editorial image

Junior doctors have escalated their campaign of industrial action in a row over controversial new contracts imposed by the government.

More strikes have been called by the British Medical Association (BMA) over new terms of employment medics fear will lead to unsafe working conditions.

On Wednesday, a 48-hour strike involving all junior doctors except those on call to provide emergency cover will start at 8am.

Then on Tuesday, April 26 and the following day, there will be a full withdrawal of labour - with no emergency cover by junior doctors - between 8am and 5pm.

They are the latest strikes to be called after junior doctors voted for industrial action on a 98 per cent majority.

The BMA said it had no choice but to call further walk-outs after the government imposed the new junior doctors’ contract.

But the Department of Health claims patients will be put at risk by the strikes - and accused the BMA of refusing to negotiate.

Dr Johann Malawana, chairman of the BMA junior doctor committee, 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.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This escalation of industrial action by the BMA is both desperate and irresponsible and will inevitably put patients in harm’s way.”