Next Tuesday’s 48-hour junior doctors’ strike has been called off by the British Medical Association (BMA), according to the BBC.
The BBC reported that the BMA said the move did not mean that a deal had been met.
Talks continue this week between the doctors’ union and the government about proposed new junior doctor contract in England.
The strike planned for Wednesday 10 February could still go ahead. However, this is considered less disruptive as it is like the 24-hour strike held last Tuesday where junior doctors provided emergency cover.
Last week’s strike saw more than 3000 operations being cancelled in one day. This meant that one in 10 patients suffered because of the strike action.
The BMA’s decision to cancel this strike shows that it is considering patients, but without foregoing the doctors’ right to strike action.
Commenting on the decision to suspend industrial action, BMA junior doctor committee chair Dr Johann Malawana said:
“The BMA has today taken the decision to suspend the industrial action planned for 26 to 28 January, thereby giving trusts as much notice as possible so as to avoid disruption to patients.
It is important to be clear, however, that differences still exist between the BMA and the government on key areas, including the protection of patient safety and doctor’s working lives, and the recognition of unsocial hours.”
A Department of Health spokesman told the BBC: “The strike that took place last week was unnecessary while talks are ongoing, so it’s extremely welcome news that the BMA has suspended next week’s action.”
By calling off the strike action it allows talks between the BMA and government to proceed.
It does seem that this story is set to continue, however Pryers are pleased to hear that they are finding a way to continue negotiations without potentially dangerous strike action.