JUNIOR doctors have announced further strike action and will launch a judicial review into the government’s decision to impose a new contract on them.
The British Medical Association (BMA) claim Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, failed to undertake an equality impact assessment (EIA) prior to the government imposing new terms and conditions on junior doctors.
The changes include curbing of the junior doctors’ pay package and changes to what is classed as “unsociable hours.”
Guaranteed pay increases linked to time in the job are also expected to be scrapped and replaced with a system linked to progression through set training stages.
As a result, the BMA will launch a judicial review and its members will walk out on strike four three 48-hour periods.
Dr Johann Malawa, BMA junior doctors’ committee chairman, said: “This is yet another example of the incompetence which the government has demonstrated throughout its handling of the dispute.
“Imposing this contract will seriously undermine the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain junior doctors in areas of medicine with the most unsocial areas, where there are already staffing shortages.
“We have already seen NHS chief executives refusing to support an imposition, and patient representatives have said they are appalled by this move.
“Added to this, the government’s former adviser on patient safety, Don Berwick, has said it should apologise to junior doctors over the contract dispute.
“The Government must listen to the chorus of concern coming from all quarters and reconsider this disastrous approach.”
The strike action, which will involve all junior doctors, except those on-call to provide emergency cover, will take place on the following dates:
- Wednesday, March 9 at 8am until Friday, March 11 at 8am.
- Wednesday, April 6 at 8am until Friday, April at 8am.
- Tuesday, April 26 at 8am until Thursday, April 28.
The decision for further strike action was made after a meeting of the BMA junior doctors’ committee at the weekend.
Dr Malawana said: “The Government can avert this action by re-entering talks with the BMA and addressing it rather than simply ignoring the outstanding issues and concerns junior doctors have.
“If it pushes ahead with plans to impose a contract that junior doctors have resoundingly rejected, we will be left with no option but to take this action.”