When are junior doctors STRIKES? Why are medics walking out?


When is the junior doctors strike? 

There will be a total of three strikes – each lasting 48 hours – in March and April, according to the British Medical Association (BMA). 

Junior doctors will first go on strike from 8am on Wednesday March 9 to 8am on Friday March 11. 

The second walkout is due to take place from 8am on Wednesday April 6 to 8am on Friday April 8.

The last strike is scheduled to happen between 8am on Tuesday April 26 and 8am Thursday April 28. 

The industrial action will not affect emergency care. 

Why are the junior doctors going on strike? 

The industrial action comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt decided to force new terms and conditions on junior doctors in August.

Medics have widely condemned the new contract, which applies to new graduates as well as doctors who have more than a decade of experience.

A major sticking point in the dispute has been weekend pay because the new contract reduces the number of hours classified as “unsociable”, which merit extra pay. 

There are also concerns that doctors will have to work more hours, which will affect patient care and safety. 

What does the BMA say about the strikes?

BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana announced strike action and plans to launch a judicial review of Mr Hunt”s decision to impose the contract. 

“The government can avert this action by re-entering talks with the BMA and addressing, rather than simply ignoring, the outstanding issues and concerns junior doctors have,” he said.

“If it pushes ahead with plans to impose a contract that junior doctors have resoundingly rejected, we will be left with no option but to take this action.” 

What does the government say about strikes? 

A Department of Health spokesman said the “completely unnecessary” strike action would means tens of thousands more patients face cancelled operations.

“The new contract will mean an average 13.5% basic pay rise, and will bring down the maximum number of hours doctors can work,” the spokesman said. 

“We urge junior doctors to look at the detail of the contract and the clear benefits it brings.”