98% of the junior doctors voted to go on all-out strike for the first time , the British Medical Association has said.
The BMA said it was “keen to avert the need for industrial action” and has approached conciliation service Acas for talks with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS Employers.
The union sent ballot papers to more than 30,000 members. Some 98% voted in favour of a full strike and 99% in favour of action just short of a full strike.
The dates for industrial action are:
- 08:00 GMT 1 December to 08:00 GMT 2 December (junior doctors to staff emergency care)
- 08:00 GMT to 17:00 8 December (full strike)
- 08:00 GMT to 17:00 16 December (full strike)
The British Medical Association said it was “inevitable” disruption would be caused to patients. The action is likely to lead to the cancelling and rescheduling of thousands of routine appointments, tests and operations with the NHS forced to prioritise emergency cases.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the strikes – the latest stage of a fierce dispute over pay and conditions regarding a new contract for doctors in England – were “totally unwarranted” and would harm patients.
Johann Malawana, the BMA’s junior doctor committee chairman, has said the increase in basic pay was misleading as it would be “offset by changes to pay for unsocial hours – devaluing the vital work junior doctors do at evenings and weekends”. The BMA has said the Government needs to lift the threat of the contract being imposed.