What could the junior doctor strikes mean?

17th November 2015

Thousands of junior doctors are preparing to go on strike throughout December, in protest of the changes to their working patterns; the ballot from the BMA will involve around 40,000 junior doctors deciding whether they want to take industrial action or not.

Junior doctors are objecting to the proposed changes to their contracts, which would see changes to working hours, unsociable hours, working weekends and their pay. The government has chosen to review the current contracts, as they could be outdated.

But what could the effect of the strike have on patients and hospitals? With junior doctors making up around half of the workforce, the strikes could result in major staff shortages in hospitals, making it more difficult to treat patients and handle emergencies.

However if the contract changes come into place, could this result in junior doctors working excessive hours with a lack of sleep, potentially causing unsafe working environments and unsafe conditions to treat patients in?

The chair of the Junior Doctor Committee spoke about the proposed strikes: “The BMA has been clear that it wants to deliver a contract that protects patient safety and is fair to both junior doctors and the health service as a whole.”

The ballot as to whether junior doctors will strike closes at 5pm on Wednesday 18th November, with the result being posted the next day.

As one of the largest Medical Negligence law firms in the UK, we see the devastation that can be caused by improper care, as well as the impact that putting NHS staff under unreasonable pressure can have. We have to ask ourselves, could the change in contracts directly cause doctors to make more mistakes in the future?

To read more about the BMA and the junior doctors plan of industrial action, please visit: bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2015/september/junior-doctors-plan-to-ballot-for-industrial-action

Fletchers Solicitors is a law firm specialising in medical negligence, serious injury and motorbike cases. For more information please call 03300 080322.

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