JUNIOR doctors have stepped up their strike action with a full withdrawal of labour next month as a row with government rumbles on.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said it will escalate its planned strike on April 26 from 48-hour emergency cover only to a full walkout between 8am and 5pm on April 26 and 27.
The 48-hour emergency care only action due to start at 8am on Wednesday 6 April and end at 8am on Friday 8 April will go ahead as planned.
The BMA claim health secretary Jeremy Hunt failed to undertake an equality impact assessment (EIA) prior to the government imposing terms and conditions on junior doctors.
The changes include the curbing of 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.
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chairman, 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.
"We want to end this dispute through talks but the government is making this impossible. It is flatly refusing to engage with junior doctors, has done nothing to halt industrial action and is wilfully ignoring the mounting chorus of concerns over its plans to impose coming from doctors, patients and senior NHS managers.”