The BMA, representing junior doctors, has called off September’s 5-day strike but plans to go ahead with strikes in October, November and December, unless the Government agrees a better deal.
GMC issues warning about patient safety
Earlier today the General Medical Council (GMC) issued a detailed statement saying it believes patients will suffer and reminding doctors they must make the care of their patients their first concern.
The Chief Executive of the GMC said whilst doctors have a right to strike, the GMC has powers to investigate and apply sanctions to any doctor whose behaviour has fallen short consistently or seriously below the standards required.
The warning continued “where we are presented with evidence that a doctor’s actions may have directly led to patient or patients coming to significant harm, we would be obliged to investigate and if necessary take appropriate action”.
A key concern was the amount of time hospitals had to prepare for the strike and the impact that would have on patient safety.
Junior doctors leader Dr Ellen McCourt said today “Patient safety remains doctors’ primary concern… 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.”
What is the strike about?
The strike arises from a dispute about the Government’s imposed changes to working arrangements, in its push to secure a 7-day doctor service.
Junior doctors rejected Government proposals in September and the Government is planning to impose the changes from October. The BMA has previously said the strike could be called off if the Government delays to imposed change to allow talks to continue. Earlier in the dispute, doctors went strike for a single day. The move to 5 continuous days of strikes each month is a significant escalation.