Junior doctors call off five-day strikes over contracts

Junior doctors call off five-day strikes over contracts

Junior doctors in England have suspended a series of five-day strikes over the next three months, following concerns over patient safety.

Walkouts in October, November and December, in protest against a new contract, had been planned.

The junior doctors’ committee of the British Medical Association said that it remained in dispute with the government over the issue.

The government has said the doctors’ case is without merit.

A strike planned earlier in September had already been cancelled.

The Department of Health says the new contract will help to provide a seven-day NHS but junior doctors disagree with its introduction and walked out for six one-day stoppages in the first four months of this year.

Dr Ellen McCourt, chairwoman of the BMA junior doctors committee, said the latest decision had been taken “in light of feedback from doctors, patients and the public, and following a passionate, thoughtful and wide-ranging debate amongst junior doctors”.

She added: “We still oppose the imposition of the contract and are now planning a range of other actions in order to resist it, but patient safety is doctors’ primary concern and so it is right that we listen and respond to concerns about the ability of the NHS to maintain a safe service.

“We hope the government will seize this opportunity to engage with junior doctors and listen to the range of voices from across the NHS raising concerns about doctors’ working lives and the impact of the contract on patient care.”
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