Industrial action by junior doctors will start next Tuesday, after talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS England broke down again yesterday.
The strikes are currently planned as follows:
· Tuesday 12 January at 8am to Wednesday 13 January at 8am, emergency care only.
· Tuesday 26 January at 8am to Thursday 28 January at 8am, (48 hours) emergency care only.
· Wednesday 10 February 8am to 5pm, full withdrawal of labour.
The BMA said that government is “still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously”, while Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said that the BMA has actioned the strike “without fully considering the revised offer”, branding their actions “extraordinary”.
The talks, which reconvened yesterday, had been progressing well, as 15 out of 16 of the union’s issues had been resolved. Weekend pay is the sticking point.
Hunt has appointed “one of our most respected trust chief executives” Sir David Dalton to take negotiations forward with The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on behalf of the government, he revealed in an open letter to Mark Porter (pictured), the elected BMA council chair, yesterday.
Dalton has been the chief executive of Salford Royal for 12 years, and it is currently one of two ‘outstanding’ CQC-rated trusts, the other being Frimley Park Hospital.
In his letter, Hunt also urged Porter to “consider our offer carefully and consider suspending strike action so that we can conclude negotiations quickly without further risk to patient safety”.
However, Porter stood firm in an email to BMA members yesterday, stating that Porter says the Government had “spurned a once-in-a-decade opportunity to improve patient care and squandered its attempt to rebuild trust with the medical profession”.