The Junior Doctors Committee at the British Medical Association (BMA) has voted to reject the new contract proposed by the Government and is considering further strike action in September.
In a letter to BMA members, Ellen McCourt, committee chair, said she had “been very clear with the Government about the issues which led junior doctors to reject the imposed contract.”
However, having “simply seen nothing” in response to the issues raised, the committee executive has put in a request to the BMA Council to authorise a rolling programme of escalated industrial action from early September.
McCourt said: “I have repeatedly told the Secretary of State what needs to be addressed and, crucially, by when.
“We have seen some last-minute movement from Health Education England on whistleblowing protections, and from NHS leaders with regard to the role of the Guardian of Safe Working, but the Government remains persistently silent.
“In light of this, the JDC executive has voted to reject the proposed new contract in full and to call for formal renegotiations on all of your concerns.
“In response to the government’s silence, JDC exec has today made a formal request for a special meeting of BMA council to authorise a rolling programme of escalated industrial action beginning in early September.”
McCourt added that the junior doctors have “been reasonable throughout, but cannot stand idly by as we move towards the Secretary of State’s arbitrary date of imposition.”
In response to the BMA, Daniel Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “Industrial action achieves little or nothing, but places pressure on already stretched teams and services and causes worry, distress and disruption for patients, carers and their families.
“Over the last two months we have been talking with the Junior Doctors Committee and have, along with the Department of Health and others, responded positively to their concerns regarding the Guardian Role and Whistleblowing.
He added that positive engagement on other topics including flexibility in training, study leave and the gender pay gap in medicine, “were a sign of how serious employers” were about honouring the agreements reached with the BMA.
Junior doctor strikes previously took place between January and April this year.