The BMA’s ballot of junior doctors in England shows an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action, beginning with a 72-hour walkout in March.
We are not surprised at the strength of feeling expressed by junior doctors through the ballot. We understand only too well the frustration of our members regarding workforce shortages and other factors causing a steady erosion of morale and wellbeing. We set out our support for members when the ballot opened in January and our position is unchanged.
We urge the government to take the opportunity for further negotiation regarding the concerns of junior doctors so that a resolution can be found without the need for industrial action.
Patient safety remains paramount. Should industrial action go ahead, we know our members and their colleagues will work to keep patients safe. However, in the longer term, we believe that standards of patient care in the NHS will be harmed if the working lives of junior doctors, including the financial pressures they are under and their terms and conditions, are not improved.
Workforce shortages across our specialties are well-known and are severely limiting the ability of the NHS to perform operations and address treatment backlogs. We cannot afford to lose the staff we do have.