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Next week’s industrial action cancelled due to safety concerns

Strike called off this month, but future dates still planned to go ahead

Editorial team

Monday, 05 September 2016

Following discussions with NHS England, the BMA has taken the decision to suspend next week’s planned industrial action.

In a statement, the BMA said that while it had provided more than the legally required seven days’ notice ahead of industrial action, it took on board NHS England’s concerns that it needed more time to plan for escalated action.

The BMA said future dates planned for October, November and December will still go ahead, unless the government calls off its plans to impose a contract that has been rejected by junior doctors.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said:

“Patient safety remains doctors’ primary concern which is why, following discussions with NHS England, the BMA has taken the decision to suspend next week’s industrial action.

“While the BMA provided more than the required notice, we have taken this decision to ensure the NHS has the necessary time to prepare and to put in place contingency plans to protect patient safety.

“Our hospitals are chronically understaffed, our NHS is desperately underfunded – we have to listen to our colleagues when they tell us that they need more time to keep patients safe.

“Future action is still avoidable. The BMA has repeatedly said it will call off further action if the government puts a halt to plans to force junior doctors to work under a contract they have rejected because they don’t believe it is good for the future of patient care or the profession.

“I urge Jeremy Hunt to put patients first, listen to our concerns and end this dispute through talks.”

NHS Employers Chief Executive Danny Mortimer welcomed the announcement but expressed concerns over the planned escalated action.

“The NHS will be relieved that the BMA has called off next week's industrial action. We remain concerned however that the planned industrial action in October, November and December is an excessive response to any outstanding concerns, particularly as it relates to a contract agreed by the BMA Junior Doctors Committee as recently as May,” he said.

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