The BMA has suspended the strike planned for 12-16 September.
On 31 August the BMA announced further industrial action of a full withdrawal of labour, including emergency cover, for 5 days, between 8am to 5pm from Monday 12 to Friday 16 September, with further dates to be confirmed.
A Department of Health spokesperson said:
As doctors’ representatives, the BMA should be putting patients first not playing politics in a way that will be immensely damaging for vulnerable patients. What’s more, the BMA must be the first union in history to call for strike action against a deal they themselves negotiated and said was a good one.
While there are many pressures on the frontline, funding is at record levels, with the highest number of doctors employed in the history of the NHS. Co-operation not confrontation is the way forward to make sure patients get the best treatment and the NHS is there for people whenever they need it.
On 6 July the Health Secretary outlined the phased introduction of the new junior doctors’ contract from October 2016 in an update to Parliament.
On 5 July the BMA announced that junior doctors and medical students in England had voted to reject the new contract 58% to 42% on a 68% turnout.
Jeremy Hunt said:
It is extrememly disappointing that junior doctors have voted against this contract, which was agreed with and endorsed by the leader of the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee and supported by senior NHS leaders.
The BMA’s figures show that only 40% of those eligible actually voted against this contract, and a third of BMA members didn’t vote at all. We will now consider the outcome.
On 27 May, NHS Employers published the terms and conditions of the contract agreement, as reached by the government, NHS Employers and the BMA. This has been agreed by the government, NHS Employers and the BMA, subject to securing the support of BMA junior doctor members in a referendum.
The Department of Health have also published an equalities statement, which considers the new proposals and their impact on junior doctors.
On 18 May, ACAS issued a statement setting out the terms of an agreement presented to the government and NHS Employers, and to the BMA. This has now been agreed by all parties as resolving the current dispute, subject to securing the support of BMA junior doctor members in a referendum.
Jeremy Hunt wrote to Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy of Royal Colleges on 5 May 2016 in response to the Academy’s call for a pause in the introduction of the new contract. He agreed to pause for 5 days from Monday 9 May should the Junior Doctors Committee agree to return to talks.
On 24 April, Jeremy Hunt wrote to Mark Porter, Chair of the BMA, to invite him to a meeting on Monday 25 April and to appeal to him to avert the strike planned for later that week, when junior doctors will withdraw potentially life-saving care for the first time.
On 31 March, the equality analysis of the new junior doctors’ contract was published. The new terms and conditions were also published by NHS Employers.
On 23 March the BMA announced its intention to escalate industrial action to a full withdrawal of labour, including emergency cover, for 48 hours on 26 to 27 April.
A Department of Health spokesperson said:
This escalation of industrial action by the BMA is both desperate and irresponsible – and will inevitably put patients in harm’s way.
If the BMA had agreed to negotiate on Saturday pay, as they promised to do through ACAS in November, we’d have a negotiated agreement by now – instead, we had no choice but to proceed with proposals recommended and supported by NHS leaders.
On 1 February the BMA announced its intention to strike on 10 February as planned but modified the level of service it asked junior doctors to withdraw. Rather than an all out strike, emergency services were still provided and the strike lasted for 24 hours from 8am.
The BMA announced its intention to suspend the previously announced 48-hour strike as talks continue.
A DH spokesperson said:
The strike that took place last week was unnecessary while talks are ongoing, so it’s extremely welcome news that the BMA has suspended next week’s action, though as it stands emergency care will still be withdrawn in February. In the end, the government and junior doctors want to do the same thing by improving patient care at weekends – and we look forward to further constructive discussions.
ACAS, the conciliation service, announced that all parties had agreed to recommence talks on Thursday 14 January to try and reach a negotiated settlement.
The government wants to modernise the junior doctor contract to make it fairer for doctors and safer for patients.
In 2012 the British Medical Association and NHS Employers began discussions on the new contract. The negotiations broke down in October 2014. An independent review body, the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB), was invited to review the contract and to make recommendations, which were published in July 2015. The BMA declined to re-enter negotiations at that point.
Watch a video of the Secretary of State’s reaction to the BMA’s previous call for strike action