Emergency planning under way as junior doctors' strike action escalates

Junior doctors say the contract, created to help the government deliver its promise of a seven-day NHS, will offer them reduced pay for anti-social working hours and make it harder to maintain safe staffing levels.

The union has now confirmed the first of four strikes will start in September.

Junior doctors announced this week that they would call a week of strikes this month, followed by three more five-day strikes throughout the autumn.

Voters aged 55 or over are opposed to the strikes by 53% to 47%, though there is stronger support for the junior doctors' position among younger voters.

Hundreds upon hundreds of readers have commented on SalfordOnline.com's previous coverage of junior doctors strikes through Facebook and Twitter.

BMA chairman Dr. Mark Porter said: "I have to say it beggars belief that we can be accused of playing politics in this when the stated reason of the government proceeding is that it was in their party manifesto".

"The public have the greatest sympathy for the medical profession and understand the hard job that they do, but this may take a step too far and could erode the public confidence and trust".

"The priority for us all is to try to find a solution".

"Redeploying staff from areas such as outpatient clinics and operating theatres where we are unable to run clinics or operating lists so that they can work in other areas to support colleagues and care for patients".

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of National Voices, a coalition of health and care charities, said: "There is no doubt that junior doctors are under a lot of pressure and are deeply unhappy, and there is no doubt that there are weaknesses in the government's seven-day NHS plan".

It said: "We know there are genuine concerns about the contract and working arrangements, but we do not consider the proposed strikes are proportionate".

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, part of the Government's negotiating team, said: "The BMA's claim that further strike action is necessary because the Government has refused to provide detail over seven-day services simply doesn't stack up".

The poll comes after the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said it was "disappointed" by the decision from the British Medical Association's (BMA) decision to hold further walkouts.

"We believe that progress was made during talks in May, so we are calling for the government to lift the imposition and restart meaningful talks to agree a contract that is adequately funded, fit for objective, delivers for patients and has the confidence of the profession".

However, once again the Health Secretary failed to respond.

The Salford source continued: "This is a two-fold issue".

"So what we're talking about is a completely unprecedented scale of disruption and negative impact on patients.it's extremely worrying".

"There a real risk that we're going to see an exodus of junior doctors from England if these contracts are pushed through".

  • Joanne Flowers