The British Medical Association has announced three 48 hour strikes and plans to launch a judicial review against the government’s plan to impose a new junior doctors’ contract.
The strike times are:
- from 8am 9 March to 8am 11 March (emergency care only)
- from 8am 6 April to 8am 8 April (emergency care only)
- from 8am 26 April to 8am 28 April (emergency care only)
The doctors’ union also said it planned to take the government to court, following what it claimed was an “embarrassing revelation” that the government had failed to undertake an equality impact assessment prior to its decision to impose the new contract from August.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the BMA said the government was required under the Equality Act 2010 to show “due regard” to equalities issues.
It argued that ministers had “failed to provide evidence of an [equality impact assessment] having been conducted” ahead of the decision earlier this month to impose a deal.
Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee, said: “In recent weeks I have heard from thousands of junior doctors across the country, and the resounding message is that they cannot and will not accept what the government is trying to do.
“It now appears that in trying to push through these changes the government failed to give proper consideration to the impact this contract could have on junior doctors,” he said. “This is yet another example of the incompetence which the government has demonstrated throughout its handling of this dispute.”
Dr Malawana said the government must re-enter talks with the BMA to address outstanding issues.
The government decided to impose the contract after Sir David Dalton said the BMA was refusing to negotiate over plain time Saturday working.
In response, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “It is disappointing that the BMA has decided to announce further industrial action despite the majority of the BMA’s concerns being addressed and reflected in the final contract.
”This disruption to patient care is unnecessary. I strongly believe that the final contract is safe, fair and reasonable,” he said. ”For the sake of the NHS, and patients I urge all junior doctors to take a look at the contract in detail before taking part in any future action.”
But Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Jeremy Hunt is completely out of touch with the increasing pressures NHS staff are facing.
“The cynical decision to impose a contract on junior doctors shows the government thinks the views of hardworking NHS staff are worthless. Our concern is that other NHS staff will be next,” he said.