It’s official. After two weeks of balloting junior doctors on the decision of whether or not to strike the BMA have announced that the strikes will be taking place.
As a card carrying BMA member I am thrilled with the results, the junior doctors from across the country have united and will not stand for both this assault on our profession and Jeremy Hunt’s flagrant attempt to dismantle the NHS and pin it on medical staff.
There was an overwhelming response from junior doctors, over 76.2% of junior doctors voted, and of these 98% voted that a strike is the appropriate action to take. Please note that the BMA has sought extensive legal advice on the matter and the strikes (including full walk outs) are completely legal and in line with the GMC’s duty of the doctor.
The strike dates are as followed; the 1st, 8th and 16th of December. The first is a ‘Christmas style’ emergency care only, this means that junior doctors will only be treating patients that need emergency care e.g. if you have broken a leg, had a heart attack, or given birth to a sick baby. The other two days are full walk outs, this means that only Consultants and GPs will be in work, to compensate for the lack of junior doctors it is predicted that all routine outpatient clinics, operations and non-emergency GP appointments will be cancelled. The BMA have given substantial notice for these dates to allow hospitals and GP clinics to organise rotas so that on the day there will be as little disruption to the public as possible.
It is important to note that on these days if you have a medical emergency and attend hospital or any other medical centre you will still receive the high quality of care that you would expect from an NHS doctor.
I have written much on the subject of contract changes and as a medical student it is a topic close to my heart, as a part of not just my future as a clinician, but my future as a patient. These strikes are about more than money, they’re about the welfare of doctors when they are forced to work longer standard hours, and more importantly the safety of patients. Whether you are a medical professional or not, if these contract changes are allowed the results will be detrimental to the future of the NHS, we must join together in support of the strikes.
More information can be found on the BMA’s website, I encourage you to read further as this is a truly historical decision for the NHS and will affect all of us in the future.