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Following my last blog to you before Christmas, I thought I would take this opportunity to wish my fellow junior doctor colleagues working across Wales a very Happy New Year, and of course, to update you on the latest news on the junior contract situation in England and what this means for us in Wales.
You will have seen, from the extensive media coverage of the last few days, that junior doctors in England are on course to take industrial action this week for the first time in 40 years.
In November, in a ballot of junior doctors in England, 98 per cent voted for industrial action in response to the Government’s attempt to introduce an unsafe and unfair contract. Subsequently, in December, the BMA re-entered negotiations with the Department of Health and NHS Employers in England following conciliation talks at Acas, initiated by the BMA.
These negotiations ended on Monday (4th), unfortunately without making significant progress. There remain a number of key areas of disagreement between the BMA and the government - a summary of these areas can be found here.
The BMA has now written to all Trusts across England informing them of the intention of junior doctors, in England, to take industrial action on the following dates:
12 January 2016
Emergency care* only between 8am on Tuesday, 12 January and 8am on Wednesday, 13 January (24 hours)
26 January 2016
Emergency care only between 8am on Tuesday, 26 January and 8am on Thursday, 28 January (48 hours)
10 February 2016
Full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, 10 February
*a definition of emergency care can be found here.
Further information on the industrial action planned in England can be found at oneprofession.bma.org.uk
So, what does this mean for junior doctors in Wales? Industrial action will not be taking place in Wales.
It is imperative that you, as a junior doctor employed within NHS Wales, do not participate in the industrial action outlined above, as you could inadvertently place yourself at risk of disciplinary action.
There are a small number of junior doctors who are employed by NHS Wales, but who work from time to time in NHS trusts in England. If you are one of these, it is important that you also do not take part in any proposed industrial action. While such doctors may be based in England, their employer is based in Wales, so there is no dispute.
This follows the statement issued by Welsh Government officials on 18 September 2015 indicating that employers in NHS Wales will retain the current junior doctor contract in Wales. Therefore we are not in dispute with employers in Wales and have no reason, or mandate, to take industrial action.
That said, in the coming weeks Welsh Government will need to carefully consider what the future of the contract in Wales will be. No doubt, this will be informed by the outcome of the current dispute in England. BMA Cymru Wales will closely monitor the situation and continue to maintain regular contact with Welsh Government officials and to canvass and represent the views and interests of junior doctors working in Wales. Your views are extremely important to us and you can get in touch by emailing me at [email protected]
We continue to lend our full support to colleagues in England. We are one profession, and we stand together. Across the UK, the BMA wants a contract that is fair for doctors, safe for patients and safeguards the future of the NHS everywhere. The approach taken by the Government in England is an attack on us all.
Thank you for your continued support.
To find out more about the work of the Wales Junior Doctors Committee (WJDC), and how you can get involved, check out the WJDC webpages