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