The BMA is calling for NHS junior doctors in England to take strike action for 3 days in December and 6 days in January. There will be a full walkout from 7am on Wednesday 20 December to 7am on Saturday 23 December, followed by a six-day full walkout from 7am on Wednesday 3 January to 7am on Tuesday 9 January.
The RCOG is not a union and therefore employment terms and conditions are not within our remit. However, we recognise the right of our members and colleagues to take industrial action, and understand their reasons for doing so.
Individually, and with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the College has continued to urge all parties to reach a negotiated settlement for the benefit of patients, the public and all NHS staff. We welcomed the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Victoria Atkins MP, statement that she is ‘committed to getting around the table… to see a fair and reasonable resolution’.
During periods of strike action the priority must be to protect patient safety. It is not within the RCOG’s remit to formally request or require exemptions or derogations during industrial action, this is for the NHS. However, the RCOG was supportive of the recent letter sent by NHS England to the BMA, which highlighted urgent caesarean section provision.
NHS teams are working tirelessly at a time of unprecedented demand. The fact that health professionals are making the difficult decision to strike reflects the fact that the NHS is stretched to its limit, with pressures impacting the health and wellbeing of staff, affecting patient care, and compounding unacceptable inequalities. This will only be resolved with sufficient, long-term NHS investment by the Government, and we continue to use every lever at our disposal to advocate for this.