Junior doctors across Redbridge and Havering vote to strike

PUBLISHED: 16:41 19 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:41 19 November 2015

Junior doctors have voted in favour of strike action (Pic:PA)

Junior doctors have voted in favour of strike action (Pic:PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Junior doctors have voted in favour of strike action over contract changes proposed by the Health Secretary.

Junior doctors contract dispute

The British Medical Association has said disruption to patients is “inevitable” if the proposed strike action goes ahead.

It has now asked for independent arbitration with Jeremy Hunt and NHS employers, through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

In August, the junior doctors’ committee halted negotiations with the government over the new contracts.

They have said they are unwilling to re-enter any negotiations unless the government reverse their position on three points:

• “Extending routine working hours from 60 per week to 90. It is unacceptable that working 9pm on a Saturday is viewed the same as working 9am on a Tuesday.”

• “Removing vital safeguards which discourage employers from making junior doctors work dangerously long hours, and in doing so protect both patient and doctor safety.”

• “Seeing pay no longer matching with the experience junior doctors’ gain through their training.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has said it is making plans ahead of threatened strike action.

In the vote, 98 per cent voted in favour of full strike action and 99pc in favour of action just short of a full strike.

More than 37,700 members of the British Medical Association were sent ballot papers and 76pc took part.

Industrial action is scheduled to take place over three days in December.

On December 1, junior doctors will only provide “emergency care only” for 24 hours from 8am.

If no agreement is reached after this, there are two full walk outs planned from 8am to 5pm on December 8 and 16.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of BHRUT, which runs King George Hospital, Goodmayes, and Queen’s Hospital, Romford, said contingency plans are being made

He said: “We are working closely with our colleagues in the BMA to understand what disruption may be caused to the full range of services we provide.

“Our overriding priority is to ensure we continue to provide high standards of patient safety and care at all times.

“We intend to put in place measures that will enable us to make real-time assessments of staffing levels, ensure a quick response to any issues that might develop, and allow us to continue to provide safe and compassionate care to all our patients.

“Junior doctors are a very important part of our multi-disciplinary teams and we value the contribution they make to patient care.”

Simon Fleming, 32, an orthopaedic registrar at BHRUT, said he would be supportive of any strike action mandated by the BMA.

He said: “What we want is safe doctors, safe patients and a safe NHS.

“It’s these three things that junior doctors are fighting for and what the proposed contract puts at risk.

“During any strike, patients will be seen and taken care of by consultants and other medical professionals.”

In an interview with the BBC today, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is very, very disappointing news today.

“We want to be able to promise NHS patients they will get the same high-quality care every day of the week.

“Study after study has shown that our mortality rates at weekends are too high.

“We put a very fair offer for doctors that would see pay go up for three-quarters of junior doctors.

“We wanted to talk about this to them but, in the end, they’ve chosen to strike.

“We will have to put in place contingency plans to make sure patients are safe over a very, very busy period for the NHS.”

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