Female GP At Desk Taking Notes DGP181016 Female GP At Desk Taking Notes DGP181016

BMA Northern Ireland guidance for GP trainers, training practices and LMCs during industrial action

Support for GP trainers, training practices and LMCs during junior doctor industrial action in Northern Ireland.

Supporting GP registrars during strike action

Given the importance of the success of this action for the whole profession, we encourage all practices to visibly demonstrate their support for GP registrars in undertaking this action if the ballot is successful.

The following actions could demonstrate this support:

  • Explaining to patients why GP registrars are undertaking industrial action to achieve pay restoration.
  • Changing patient-facing messaging for the impacted days to highlight the action and the impact on services.

Managing the impact of strike action on practice work

We strongly advise that practices cancel any clinics scheduled for GP registrars on those days in advance of the strike action. We recommend not scheduling GP registrars to be duty doctors, on-call, triage, or equivalent on the days planned for strike action.

We know some patients are booked into clinics in advance, and we are also aware that some important results ordered by GP registrars may come into the practice on strike days. We suggest having an early conversation with your registrars to identify any patients who may need to reschedule their appointments or require urgent action on the days of industrial action.

Suggested patient-facing messaging

“Thanks for calling <insert name> practice. Our GP registrars, along with other junior doctors, are taking industrial action over real terms pay cut of more than 30% since 2008/09. As our GP registrar/s are not in practice today, we have fewer appointments available than normal. If you think your problem can be dealt with on a non-strike day, we’d be grateful if you could call back. This first round of strike action will finish at <time, date>. Thank you for being supportive and we’re sorry for any inconvenience”.

How will I know if my GP registrar(s) will participate in the action?

You will have to ask the registrar for this information, but employees are not legally required to report their participation in industrial action.

Advice for local medical committees

While they are not trade unions and need to be cautious over their actions, Local Medical Committees have a vital role in encouraging practices to demonstrate their support for their registrars in participating in this action.

We encourage LMCs to demonstrate their solidarity with and support for GP registrars proactively. They should also direct registrars to our GP registrar industrial action guidance. We also encourage LMCs to invite registrars to their LMC meetings and allocate time for registrar/industrial action updates on their meeting agendas.

The BMA endorses this action and has the full support of NIGPC.

Advice for GP trainers and training programme directors

To improve the chances of success of this action, GP registrars would benefit from the clear and visible support of GP trainers and training programme directors (TPDs) to ensure that GP registrars feel empowered to take part. This action is not only for GP registrars but for the future of General Practice and the medical profession.

GP trainers and TPDs support is encouraged.

If you, as a GP trainer or TPD, have specific concerns with the action, we ask that you consider the points covered in our guidance around the ethics of taking industrial action. This action’s success will benefit the whole medical profession.

You can help support your registrars by sharing the information the BMA has compiled for GP registrars.

GP registrars have the support of the whole of the BMA and the profession.

This action by all junior doctors has the support of the whole BMA and profession.

GP registrars have the support of the entire general practice, medical, and healthcare profession in undertaking this action.