String of Week-long Walkouts Under Pressure to be Called off

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The British Medical Association (BMA) are set to meet to decide whether or not junior doctors will go ahead with the three week-long strikes planned for the upcoming months.

The first of the five-day strikes, which was due to take place this week, has already been called off amid fears for patient safety coming from the General Medical Council and the NHS Medical Director. Many junior doctors have also voiced concerns on social media regarding the risk to patients.

The BMA council will be meeting yet again to reconsider the plans in place for the remaining three strikes, which will start on October 5th. The strikes will again involve a full withdrawal of labour from junior doctors between 8am to 5pm during the scheduled dates.

Proposed strike dates:

  • Wednesday 5th October – Friday 7th October (3 days)
  • Monday 10th October – Tuesday 11th October (2 days)
  • Monday 14th November – Friday 18th November (5 days)
  • Monday 5th December – Friday 9th December (5 days)

The initial announcement of the four week-long strikes caused a mixed response from thousands of junior doctors and leaders of Britain’s royal medical colleges alike. Whilst the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents 22 royal colleges, issued a statement saying it was “disappointed”, some individual colleges stated they could not support the statement and demonstrated a divide in the views of medical leaders. President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Neena Modi, expressed that her college was supporting junior doctors and was confident there would be no concerns about patient safety during the strikes.

Dr Ellen McCourt, the chair of the BMA junior doctor comittee, stated that the government could stop the strikes by calling off imposition of the new contract, which is due to take effect from October of this year. The Department of Health in contrast have said that if the BMA were geniunely serious about patient safety, then strike plans would be cancelled immediately. However, as it stands, the strikes are set to take place come October and it remains to be seen if the on-going contract dispute will be settled any time soon.

 

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