Junior doctors to hold week-long strike action

Last night the latest round of industrial action was confirmed in the long-running saga over Tory plans to impose new contracts on junior doctors, which will take place between September 12 and September 16.

Hospitals in England will begin to make contingency plans for the five consecutive days of strikes this month by junior doctors.

Junior doctors around the United Kingdom, including those at Newham University Hospital, will begin an all-out strike from 8am on Monday, September 12 to 5pm on Friday, September 16.

The BMA said junior doctors had been left with "no choice" but to start fresh strike action after failed attempts to resolve the remaining issues with the contract.

They will have to postpone thousands of routine operations and plan rotas to allow consultants to cover their striking junior colleagues in emergency care.

The BMA said Mr Hunt could avoid strike action by cancelling imposition of a new contract and agreeing to "meaningful negotiations".

BMA junior doctors' committee chair Dr Ellen McCourt called on the Government to call off their imposition of the contract in October.

Junior doctors are proposing to go on strike for a week every month for the rest of the year as the row over a new contract being imposed on them by the Government intensifies.

The highly controversial contract changes the pay structure for junior doctors in line with the Government's vision of a seven-day NHS. The criticism yesterday from Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May, who accused striking doctors of "playing politics", won't have come as a surprise.

Newly elected co-leaders of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, told the BBC they supported the strike and would take part in picket line protests during the looming dispute.

"Less than 40% of junior doctors supported rejection of an agreement strongly endorsed by their own representatives".

Mrs May said: "The Government is putting patients first, the BMA should be putting patients first - not playing politics".

The Health Secretary wants to implement a seven-day working week, arguing that people still get ill over weekends and public holidays and the fewer staff on duty then means care is not the same as for Monday through to Fridays.

But Dr Porter sought to ease concerns, and said staff on duty will be more senior than those they might normally see and that patients "should not be concerned". The BMA is using its November strike ballot, in which 98% of medics backed walkouts, as its mandate for the latest action.

Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said Jeremy Hunt had "pushed" junior doctors into further strikes through his "total mishandling of this dispute".

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said she was "gravely concerned" about the intensification of the industrial dispute, which will have a "catastrophic impact" on patients and families and push the NHS into crisis.

But the BMA said it was "absolutely behind" the decision for further strikes. "Jeremy Hunt should stop posturing about imposing a junior doctors' contract, scrap it, and re-enter talks".

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