Full walkout guidance
Below we look at what you should do on the days of strike action depending on whether you are scheduled to work or not or if you are already at work when the strike begins.
Do not return to any shift that started within the strike period
You should not return mid-shift to any shift that started within the strike period even if the employer offers to pay you for time worked. You also run the risk of not getting paid for any part shifts.
If you're already at work
You should finish your shift. As per the GMC's Good Medical Practice, you are responsible for ensuring an effective handover. This is essential as part of a patient's continuity of care.
If you're on call
The hospital may ask those who are on call in the evening to come in during the day. If you are asked and you are a junior doctor you can refuse.
If you're not scheduled to work
If you are not scheduled to work on a particular day of action, you personally would not need to take industrial action. You cannot have your wages deducted on this day either.
You are fully entitled to join in organised activities on the day, and we would encourage you to do so.
If you're scheduled to work a locum shift
Working locum shifts as a junior doctor during the strike (unless under an unavoidable contractual obligation ‑ see our advice on this) will undermine the collective industrial action of junior doctors. This would likely prolong the strikes.
If you're working for a non-NHS employer
You can potentially take leave to join the picket and other activities. This is as long as your contract does not prohibit this. See our guidance on taking part for more information.
If you are a locum junior doctor, see our advice for more information.
Legally, a GP registrar must picket at or near their place of work. They are not able to picket at a place that is not considered their place of work.
However, a GP registrar is not barred from taking part in a protest that takes place near to a hospital or other NHS building. If they are not part of a picket line, they are fine to join any organised protest.
You are able to do the exam on the day of action and take part in the industrial action activities around that. It is possible for your employer to cancel your leave, with any required notice under your contract. If your leave is cancelled, you will still be able to take industrial action and use the time to attend the exam.
You will likely lose a day of pay but you will still be able to take the day for industrial action and take your exam.
Workers who are absent on sick leave when industrial action takes place keep their right to sick pay.
Employers can be expected to make their own judgement as to how to regard your absence if you call in sick on a day of action.
Some employers in England have tried to introduce special rules about sick certificates in the event of sick leave during industrial action. If this is the case at your workplace, your LNC (local negotiating committee) should inform us. We will take the matter up with management.
It is likely that some employers will say that they can insist on a medical certificate from an individual's doctor to cover absence on or around the period of industrial action. This is because they believe that these are exceptional circumstances. Some contracts may include a clause specifying this. If there is not an express provision in contracts, then your employer may try to refer to their own industrial action reporting procedures. If this is the case at your workplace your LNC should inform us and we will take up with management.
- For those in Foundation Year 1 and 2, if you take more than 20 days out of training (when you would normally be at work), this may lead to a review of overall performance and achievement of curricular outcomes, but does not mean an automatic extension to training. Provided that outcomes are being met, there would be no justification to extend training as a result of taking industrial action.
- For those in Core/Speciality training, if you take more than 14 days out of training (when you would normally be at work), this may lead to a review of overall performance and achievement of curricular outcomes. Provided that outcomes are being met, there would be no justification to extend core training programme end dates, or CCT dates, as a result of taking industrial action.
FY1s generally must complete 12 months of training (full time equivalent) before being eligible for a Certificate of Experience and to apply for full GMC registration. The GMC supports foundation school directors implementing this requirement flexibly to reflect (including in any reviews) the nature and history of absence, the timing and the effect of the absence on achieving the necessary outcomes. The focus should be on meeting the outcomes and the competence required by FY1 doctors.