A picket line outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, as thousands of junior doctors begun the first all-out strike in the history of the NHS after the Health Secretary said the Government would not be “blackmailed” into dropping its… Junior doctors are once again walking out on strike over a new contract being imposed by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
This week’s junior doctors strike lasts for two working days.
It starts at 8am on Tuesday 26 April, and goes on until 5pm the same day.
It then resumes at 8am on Wednesday 27 April and continues until 5pm that day, when it ends.
Will emergency care still be available during the strike?
Junior doctors will not be providing emergency care, but senior doctors have been drafted in and will be providing emergency care.
Why are doctors striking?
The Government has said it will impose a new contract on them without their agreement.
Doctors say the new contract will harm patient safety by incentivising unsafe shift rosters. The Government says it will help improve care at the weekends.
The new contract is cost-neutral so it is not a case of doctors asking for more or less money overall, though there may be individual winners and losers from it.
Do junior doctors back the strike?
Junior doctors overwhelmingly back the strike. They voted by 98 per cent to two per cent in favour of striking, on a turnout of over 70 per cent.
Do the public support the strike?
All polls suggest that the public support the junior doctors and blame the Government for the dispute.
There is slightly reduced support for a strike which includes emergency care, but the public still supports doctors overall.
Will there be any more strikes?
There are none officially planned unless a conclusion can be reached more seem likely. Leaked documents suggest some in the BMA are advocating an indefinite all-out strike until the contract is withdrawn.
Where are negotiations at the moment?
Both sides are accusing each other of refusing to negotiate.
The British Medical Association says it will call off the strike if the Government scraps plans to impose the contract without agreement.
The Government is refusing to do this and has now accused the BMA of a “political” strike to bring down the Government.