Junior doctors in England are to strike for five days in September from Monday 12 to Friday 16 with more dates to be confirmed announced the British Medical Association (BMA).
The industrial action comes after failed attempts by the government and the doctors union, BMA, to come to an agreement over the proposed contract for a 7-day NHS.
Documents from the department of health and the NHS appear to suggest that there are no feasible plans as to staffing further 7-day services.
The BMA argues that the plan will fall heaviest on junior doctors who are charged with working on the weekends.
“Genuine efforts to resolve the dispute through talks have been met with an unwillingness to engage and, at times, deafening silence from the Secretary of State, leaving junior doctors with no choice but to take further action,” said BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee Chair, Dr Ellen McCourt.
“The government has consistently said this is about creating a seven-day NHS, when junior doctors already work weekends and it’s been shown that the government has no answer to how it will staff and fund extra weekend care.”
The concerns of junior doctors regarding the 7-day NHS have been intensified following the closure of A&E departments and the limiting of services at hospitals in Chorely, Grantham and Stafford due to staff shortages.
“I understand the frustration many junior doctors feel that because of pressures on the NHS frontline they are not always able to give patients the highest quality of care that they would like to,” said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“But the new contract offers junior doctors who work frequently at weekends more Saturday premium pay than nurses, paramedics, than the assistants who work in their own operating theatres, more than police officers or fire fighters and nearly every other worker in the public and private sectors.”
“We should not lose sight of the underlying reason for this dispute, namely this government’s determination to be the first country in the world to offer a proper patient-focused 7 day health service. To help deliver this, the NHS will this year receive the sixth biggest funding increase in its history.”