JUNIOR doctors have been considering more strikes after the chairman of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors’ committee resigned last Friday night, following a backlash following her decision to call off planned strikes.
The BMA junior doctors committee met on Saturday. Dr Ellen McCourt said it had become clear to her that her position was ‘untenable’. She will be replaced by her deputy Dr Pete Campbell from the more militant wing of the BMA and a Momentum supporter.
Ahead of Saturday’s JDC and McCourt’s resignation, Momentum wrote an open letter addressed to McCourt and BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter ‘in solidarity with junior doctors’ and urging the ‘reinstatement of substantial industrial action’.
It said: ‘We are members of the public, NHS patients, trade unionists, and NHS workers. We write to you ahead of the November 5th Junior Doctors’ Committee Meeting to express our solidarity with junior doctors and to express our concerns that the imposition of the unsafe and unfair junior doctors’ contract is going ahead. The government have started, predictably, to target nursing colleagues and consultants next.
‘Early feedback on social media indicates how the imposed contract is as – or even more – unsafe and unfair, as predicted with further increasing workloads and burn-out, hospitals without Guardians in place, HR departments unable to work out pay implications such as pay cuts for less- than-full-time doctors in specialist training.
‘This, coupled with further damage to the NHS through Sustainability and Transformation Plans and the absence of robust whistleblowing protection for junior doctors, is highly likely to lead to harm to patients and staff. We ask you, as a matter of urgency, to:
• reinstate substantial industrial action to fight against contract imposition
• provide an easily accessible and uncomplicated strike fund for junior doctors taking industrial action
• forge alliances with other trade unions, especially those who represent health and public sector workers
‘In order to maintain the NHS as a fully public service and to prevent the NHS from being dismantled.’
One doctor, James Smith, tweeted on Friday: ‘Received an email from @TheBMA asking how to better represent members. How about strike action when we voted in favour…? #JuniorContract.’