Camden and Islington junior doctors prepare for second strike

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital in Archway on 12.01.15.

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital in Archway on 12.01.15. - Credit: Archant

The Whittington and Royal Free hospitals will lose their junior doctors for 24 hours as the BMA announces a second round of industrial action.

The British Medical Association have today said that strikes, which were initially called off, will be going ahead on February 10 because “the government puts politics before patients.”

The action follows a strike last month, which saw the Whittington Hospital cancel 21 operations and ten clinics and the Royal Free Hospital cancel 31 operations and 14 clinics. Both hospitals have almost 250 junior doctors working in employment.

Instead of the previously suspended plans for a 49 hour walk-out, the strikes will last for 24 hours and will result in emergency care only at the Whittington and Royal Free from 8am on Wednesday 10 February to 8am Thursday 11 February.

Following the announcement, Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “The Government’s position – based on ideology rather than reason – risks souring relations with an entire generation of junior doctors. The public has shown its support for junior doctors and we deeply regret the disruption which industrial action will cause. ”

The dispute began after the government implied they would impose junior contract changes which would extend ‘basic’ working hours.

Following last month’s strikes, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt emphasised his desire to continue with negotiations.

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He said: “The door is open. I think these are things we can sort out by talking and not by risking patient safety.”

But junior doctors working at the Whittington and Royal Free told the Ham&High they had felt cornered and vilified by government negotiations and had been left with no choice.