Junior Doctors To Strike On Tuesday

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 28 months ago
Junior Doctors To Strike On Tuesday
Photo by Clive Aldenhoven from the Londonist Flickr pool

Tuesday morning sees the first in a planned series of strikes by junior doctors over what they say is an unfair contract being put forward by the Department of Health.

Junior doctors will provide emergency care only between 8am on Tuesday 12 January and 8am on Wednesday 13 January. A 48-hour strike with emergency cover only is planned for later in the month, with a full strike scheduled for 10 February.

The dispute is over pay and safeguards for unsocial working hours. Currently, junior doctors working outside 7am-7pm Monday to Fridays are paid higher rates. The government wants to increase doctors' basic pay but extend 'normal' working hours to 7am-10pm on weekdays and 7am-7pm on Saturdays. Following negotiations, very few junior doctors will now lose money* but there are still issues over limits on working hours and what happens when 'pay protection' — the government in effect topping up wages — ends in 2019.

There are around 53,000 junior doctors in England and you'll encounter them in all parts of the NHS. Someone can be classed as a 'junior doctor' for 15 years after qualifying. If your appointment or operation will be affected it's likely you already know about it and, while A&Es will be running, services in other parts of the hospital may be stretched, so you're advised to use other treatment centres if you can.

*Update: it's been pointed out to us that pay protection won't apply to new junior doctors, highlighting that the government appears to be engaging in a temporary fix to paper over cracks.

Last Updated 13 January 2016

Rich N

It's also probably worth pointing out that the junior doctors are as concerned with the likelihood that patients could end up at risk as the new contract effectively means longer working hours and shorter breaks. Tired doctors will make more mistakes and the public will pay. Oh, and there will be more negligence lawsuits, which will cost the NHS money too... And the junior doctors are backed by other medical professionals who are alarmed at these changes.