Junior doctors' ballot: 98 per cent vote in favour of strikes

The figures shows 98 per cent voted in favour of a full strike while 99 per cent voted in favour of action just short of a strike.

The first strike is due to begin on 1 December, with more strikes to follow on the 8 and 16 December. Industrial action on 1 December will involve junior doctors stilling staff emergency care, while the other two dates will involve a walkout in the knowledge that other medics, including consultants, staff doctors and locums will be available to plug the gaps.

The British Medical Association (BMA) commented an ‘inevitable’ disruption would be caused to patients, likely to lead to the cancelling and rescheduling of thousands of routine appointments, tests and operations. The NHS will be forced to manage the crisis by prioritising emergency cases.

While BMA leaders have admitted they regretted this, they maintained ministers had left them no choice after claiming the new contracts were ‘unsafe’.

The BMA balloted over 37,700 members of the workforce, with 76 per cent taking part in the vote.

During the strikes, services are likely to be disrupted, however the BMA has contended that the aim of doctors taking part will not be to maximise disruption.  

After the result of the ballot was announced, BMA leader Dr Mark Porter said: "We regret the inevitable disruption that this will cause but it is the government's adamant insistence on imposing a contract that is unsafe for patients in the future, and unfair for doctors now and in the future, that has brought us to this point.

"Our message to him is that junior doctors have today made their views perfectly clear but that it is still possible to get back around the negotiating table to deliver a contract that is safe for patients, contains the necessary contractual safeguards to prevent junior doctors being overworked and properly recognises evening and weekend work."

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