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Junior doctors accuse Hunt of acting ‘unlawfully’ as they announce strikes

PUBLISHED: 18:02 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 18:02 23 February 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.

Archant

Junior doctors across Camden and Islington will be launching a judicial review against the government as well as striking three more times in the next two months.

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

The British Medical Association today announced they will be sending a Letter Before Action to Jeremy Hunt for judicial review.

The doctors union said the announcement “followed the embarrassing revelation that the government appears to have failed to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to its decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England.”

The statement said: “The judicial review will seek to overturn the decision to impose the new contract and provide a declaration that the secretary of state had acted unlawfully.”

The decision comes two weeks after the Department of Health announced it would be imposing new junior doctor contracts after failing to reach an agreement with doctors.

Catherine West MP and Islington pensioners join striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.Catherine West MP and Islington pensioners join striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

In response to the contract imposition, a junior doctor at The Whittington Hospital said: “The imposition is a mistake. It has made my colleagues and I feel bullied and demeaned.

“The contract will worsen recruitment and retention in shortage specialities such as emergency medicine and general practice.”

There are three dates of industrial action planned, March 9, April 6 and April 26. All three strikes will begin at 8am and last for 48 hours, with emergency care only being provided.

Last week both the chief executive of The Royal Free Trust and the chief executive of The Whittington Trust spoke out against contract imposition.

Simon Pleydell, chief executive at the Whittington said: “It is immensely disappointing to see that national talks to agree a new contract have failed. Our junior doctors are a significant part of our services, helping to deliver safe and effective care to our patients. This is a bad outcome for all and is particularly damaging to the morale of a key group of staff who are essential to our workforce; both now and as our senior clinicians of the future.”

Royal Free chief, David Sloman, mirrored Mr Pleydell’s admiration for the work of junior doctors, saying: “I have the upmost respect for junior doctors, know how hard they work to deliver patient care and want to enjoy working with them for many years to come. I am profoundly disappointed that the national negotiations have failed to reach an agreement with the BMA on a new contract for doctors in training. My view is that the best way to reach resolution is negotiation.”

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