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RCOG Statement: Escalation of industrial action by junior doctors

News 11 April 2016

Junior doctors are due to withdraw labour between the hours of 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April (18 hours in total) as part of their escalating industrial action over the imposition of a new contract.

Dr David Richmond, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“The withdrawal of emergency care is obviously something each and every junior doctor in England will wrestle with over the next two weeks. The RCOG’s primary concern in this ongoing industrial relations dispute is to ensure patient safety and the College urges all doctors – trainee or otherwise – to carefully evaluate the implications of their actions and to determine their own personal criteria for industrial action before the proposed strike dates.

“We are confident that emergency care will be provided – particularly in maternity units and acute gynaecology services – by consultants and the considerable number of non-training doctors we rely on to run a safe service. 

“However, just as Sir Bruce Keogh has appealed to trainees to reconsider all out action, the RCOG now urgently appeals to the Department of Health to reflect upon its actions and behaviour. This was a battle not worth fighting, the evidence from the government was flawed and the resultant imposition is a nail in the coffin for any future engagement with trainees.

“The proposed all out strike is no longer just about the contractual changes. It is the last resort of an increasingly disillusioned workforce who feel undervalued and ignored by the Department of Health. The contract imposition will have long-lasting ramifications and it has only served to unite the entire medical workforce.

“The current ‘junior doctors’ will be our consultants and medical leaders of the future long after the present Secretary of State and current BMA leadership have left office. There is so much at stake and no room for intransigence that we implore both sides to return to the table as a matter of urgency.”

Ends

Read our previous statements on the junior doctors’ contract dispute: