'˜Regret' as junior doctors' union announces strike

Junior doctors are set to walk out next week in protest against government plans to change their contracts.


Talks to agree a new junior doctor contract have stalled between the doctors’ union the BMA and NHS bosses.

The strike will take place from 8am on Wednesday, February 10, until 8am on Thursday, February 11.

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Rather than a full walk out, junior doctors will provide 24 emergency care only.

The BMA previously suspended plans for 48-hour industrial action due to start on January 26, on the basis of early progress made in new talks with Sir David Dalton, the government’s chief negotiator. The talks have since broken down with the BMA arguing the government puts ‘patients before politics’.

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “The public has shown its support for junior doctors and we deeply regret the disruption which industrial action will cause.

“We have changed the form of the industrial action starting on February 10, so as to balance the need to send a clear message to a government putting politics before patients while minimising disruption, with excellent care continuing to be provided by doctors and other NHS staff on the day.”

The new contract proposes an 11 per cent rise in basic pay for junior doctors.

However the number of hours during the week which are classed as ‘unsociable’ and therefore a better paid – are being cut.

Under the changes, unsociable hours would start at 10pm rather than 7pm from Monday to Friday and end at 7am.

Before any work over the weekend was paid at a higher rate, but the current plans would consider Saturday a normal working day until 7pm.

The government also proposes to scrap guaranteed pay increases, linked to time in the job, and replace them with a system where junior doctors progress through different stages in training.

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