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Government slam ‘desperate’ junior doctors as Camden and Islington hospitals face no emergency cover for the first time

PUBLISHED: 15:32 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:32 23 March 2016

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

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Junior doctors at the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals have escalated planned strikes and announced they will withdraw all emergency care - the first full walkout of doctors in this country.

Junior doctors on strike at the Royal FreeJunior doctors on strike at the Royal Free

The doctors have said they have been left with “no choice” after the government vowed to press ahead with contract changes that doctors say are threatening patient safety.

This will be the first time ever that emergency care has been withdrawn - previous strikes have allowed on-call doctors to continue to work.

In a statement released by the British Medical Association (BMA) Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said:

“No junior doctor wants to take this action but the government has left us with no choice and will bear direct responsibility for the first full walkout of doctors in this country.

“We want to end this dispute through talks but the government is making this impossible, it is flatly refusing to engage with junior doctors, has done nothing to halt industrial action and is wilfully ignoring the mounting chorus of concerns over its plans to impose coming from doctors, patients and senior NHS managers. Faced with this reality what else can junior doctors do?

“We deeply regret the disruption to patients and our message to patients is clear; this action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition.

In response to the announcement, the Department of Health has labelled junior doctors “desperate and irresponsible” and said their actions will “inevitably put patients in harm’s way.”

According to the BMA, 98 per cent of junior doctors who voted in favour of industrial action also were in favour of withdrawing full labour.

The strike is due to take place between 8am and 5pm on April 26 and 27.

The industrial action scheduled for 48 hours on April 6 is still due to go ahead and will not include the withdrawal of emergency care.


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