Junior doctors' strike: Your questions answered

Junior doctors in England took to the picket lines once more today in their ongoing dispute with the Government over a new contract.

Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 8:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 8:21 am

As the 48-hour stoppage begins, here are some questions answered about the strike.

:: What is the dispute about?

Junior doctors are objecting to a new contract which the Government says will create a truly seven-day service.

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They are currently paid more for working unsocial hours at night or at the weekend. But under the proposed new contracts, the Saturday day shift will be paid at a normal rate in return for a rise in basic pay.

:: What does the BMA plan to do?

The BMA has two sets of strikes planned in April.

A 48-hour strike action started at 8am today, where junior doctors provide emergency care only.

But the second industrial action set for April 26 and April 27 will see a full withdrawal of labour by junior doctors between the hours of 8am and 5pm on the two days. This means they will not be providing emergency care cover.

The BMA has also launched a judicial review against the imposition of the contract.

:: What impact has the strike had on patients?

Overall almost 25,000 procedures have been cancelled as a result of ongoing strike action by junior doctors in England.

:: Why would junior doctors have such an impact?

The term “junior” is a bit misleading. Junior doctors are all physicians up to consultant level, some are fresh out of medical school and others have a decade of experience. In total, there are 50,000 junior doctors in England.

:: What will happen when someone needs emergency care during the full walkout?

The BMA said there will still be emergency care because other members of NHS staff will still be working, including consultants.

:: Will the full walkout be safe?

The Department of Health has said that the full walkout will ‘’inevitably put patients in harm’s way’’ but the BMA says patients will still receive the care that they need in A&E.

If there is a major incident there is an ‘’escalation procedure’’ in place and doctors would be going back into work, the BMA says.