Junior doctors and the government in dispute over the new contract have been urged to “step back from the brink”, return to the negotiating table and put patient welfare “first and foremost”.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said the NHS faced a time of “unprecedented crisis”.
The presidents of 22 medical royal colleges and faculties called for the government to suspend the imposition of the contract and for the junior doctors to halt plans for their all-out strike scheduled for April 26 and 27 in England.
Their comments follow the British Medical Association (BMA) announcement last week.
In its statement the academy said: “We call on both sides in the dispute to step back from the brink by suspending imposition of the contract and the all-out strike and urge a return to negotiations.
“We believe that this is essential if the current impasse is to be broken and progress made in resolving this extremely damaging stand-off for the benefit of all NHS stakeholders, particularly our patients and trainees.”
The presidents of the 22 colleges meet regularly to determine their reaction to key issues in healthcare.
However, a letter to the Prime Minister, signed by the former chair of the RCGP Clare Gerada, said the authors feared that if the dispute continues more doctors will leave the UK to work abroad.
The authors also include the BMA’s deputy chairman Dr Kailash Chand and BMA council and GPs committee member Dr David Wrigley and are encouraged other doctors to sign it.
They called on David Cameron to stop the dispute by withdrawing the new contract.
“This prolonged dispute is damaging our NHS, our patients and our profession. We urge you to withdraw the imposition of the new contract so that a safe and fair solution can be found.”