Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Health
19 November 2015updated 26 Jul 2021 10:26am

Junior doctors contract row: 98 per cent vote in favour of going on strike

The first walk-out will begin on 1 December with another two dates marked out for later in the month.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Junior doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of going on strike. This is the culmination of an ongoing row between the medical profession and government over proposed new junior doctor contracts, with 98 per cent of junior doctors voting to strike in protest of the changes.

The doctors’ union behind the strike vote, the British Medical Association, says health ministers have left doctors with no choice but to take action, as the new contracts would be “unsafe”.

The planned new measures include a 25 per cent cut to the number of hours classed as unsociable (for which there is extra pay), and would scrap guaranteed pay increases linked to time in the job. There would be an 11 per cent basic pay rise for junior doctors, but the BMA argues that this would be offset by new curbs to other elements of a doctor’s pay package.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s talks with the profession have broken down, leading to numerous protests against the upcoming contracts. This row has resulted in the first “all out” strike in NHS history.

Strikes will lead to thousands of routine appointments and planned tests and operations being cancelled and rescheduled, with emergency cases prioritised. The dates for this industrial action are 1 December (with junior doctors staffing solely emergency care), 8 December (full strike), and 16 December (full strike).

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Over two-thirds of the workforce voted in the BMA’s ballot.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them