Junior doctors in England will strike for 24 hours next week, after no agreement has been reached on unsocial hours.
The British Medical Association (BMA) believes that Saturday should count as unsocial hours, while the government “refuse to recognise this”, BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said.
Action will take place from 8am on Wednesday 10 February to 8am on Thursday 11 February, and the junior doctors will still provide emergency care during this period.
This marks a change to the originally planned action, which would have seen the first-ever full walkout with no care provided by junior doctors.
The government is “still digging in its heels” Malawana added. “The government’s entrenched position in refusing to recognise Saturday working as unsocial hours, together with its continued threat to impose a contract so fiercely resisted by junior doctors across England, leaves us with no alternative but to continue with industrial action.”
In response, the Department of Health (DH) agreed with the BMA and Sir David Dalton – who was brought in to negotiate for the government – that the only “significant remaining issues” relate to pay and plain time working hours.
Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, wrote in a letter to the BMA yesterday: “The government and NHS Employers made a significant offer on the extent of plain time and stood ready to discuss these matters and it is very disappointing that the BMA felt unable to negotiate… Our door remains open.”