Despite the best efforts of our negotiating team, and hours of talks facilitated by Acas, the BMA have not managed to reach agreement with NHS Employers and the Department of Health on the new junior doctors contract.
As a result, the industrial action we planned for 10 February will be going ahead. However, rather than the planned full walkout, the action will mirror that of 12 January. Junior doctors in England will be offering emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on Wednesday 10 February to 8am Thursday 11 February.
As they did in January, they will be operating an agreed procedure with NHS England that, if a major unpredictable incident were to occur, trusts should escalate the issue with the BMA.
This dispute was entirely avoidable. Had the Government listened to junior doctors, if they had valued the contribution that they make, day in, day out, to the NHS, they would not be in this position.
The fundamental change in the way that Saturdays are classified is at the heart of junior doctors’ anger.
The public understand this anger too. Many of the junior doctors have been approached by patients who tell them that they have their support. And this is reflected in opinion polls.
I know that it was hoped a resolution could be found and this is what the BMA staff supporting them, have been striving for.