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Junior doctor may take indefinite strike action

Leaked emails show junior doctors’ leaders are mulling indefinite strike from 8 June

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 22 April 2016

Senior members of the British Medical Association junior doctors’ committee are considered whether the union should call for an indefinite walkout of junior doctors from 8 June, according to leaked emails seen by the Health Service Journal.

The proposal is one of several options put forward last week by the junior doctors’ committee chair Johann Malawana that could be considered by the committee at its next meeting in May.

Other options for potential action suggested by Dr Malawana in his email to members of the junior doctors’ committee executive include: a mass resignation of trainees; recommending doctors seek alternative employment; recommending careers outside medicine; “alternative forms of permanent action”; and accepting the government’s planned imposition and offer to negotiate on Saturday pay.

Dr Malawana said in his email: “The main question I want you to think about is what happens after the next action… Therefore, I have listed below the possible actions and want to discuss if there are further actions we consider and what we put to the JDC meeting in May."

Asked to respond to the leaked emails, Dr Malawana said in a statement: “Let me be clear, junior doctors do not want to have to take any action. They would rather be in work, treating patients, but by refusing to get back around the table and address junior doctors’ outstanding concerns the government has left them with no alternative.

“What happens after next week’s action is entirely down to the government. No decision has yet been made about future action but junior doctors will, of course, have to consider what options are open to them if the government refuses to re-enter talks.

“The crucial message, however, is this: it is not too late to end this dispute and call off next week’s action entirely. For the sake of patients as well as doctors, the government must listen to concerns from all sides calling on it to lift imposition, sit down with junior doctors and end this dispute through talks.”

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