Junior doctors suspend next week’s strike
- Credit: Evening News © 2009
A 48-hour strike by junior doctors next week has been suspended as talks continue with the Government over a new contract.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said it wanted to give NHS trusts as much notice as possible to avoid disruption to patients.
Thousands of operations and procedures would have been affected by the strike on January 26, when doctors were due to provide emergency care only.
But the BMA said 'significant progress' still needed to be made to avoid a strike planned for February 10, when full labour, including emergency care cover, is due to be withdrawn.
It said 'differences still exist between the BMA and the Government on key areas, including the protection of patient safety and doctors' working lives, and the recognition of unsocial hours'.
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Commenting on the decision to suspend industrial action, BMA junior doctor committee chair, Dr Johann Malawana, said: 'The BMA's aim has always been to deliver a safe, fair junior doctor contract through negotiated agreement. Following junior doctors' clear message to the Government during last week's action, our focus is now on building on early progress made in the current set of talks.
'On this basis, the BMA has today taken the decision to suspend the industrial action planned for 26-28 January, thereby giving Trusts as much notice as possible so as to avoid disruption to patients.
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'It is important to be clear, however, that differences still exist between the BMA and the Government on key areas, including the protection of patient safety and doctor's working lives, and the recognition of unsocial hours. Significant, concrete progress will need to be made if future action, currently planned for 10 February, is to be averted.'