The Government has responded to an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on the junior doctors’ strikes and what steps they are taking to prevent further strike action in the NHS.
Coming off the back of 3 days of industrial action by junior doctors following the Easter bank holiday weekend and the announcement that the RCN will not be accepting the Government's pay offer. During the most recent strike action 175,000 hospital appointments were disrupted and 28,000 staff were off.
During the Secretary of State's statement it was reported that the British Medical Association have asked their members not to engage with trusts if they intend to strike.
Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Steve Brine responded to these reports saying : "This is putting trust chief executives, and this is not their fault, in an impossible position being asked to carry out really, really challenging targets that we rightly are setting them - not least with respect to covid backlog."
The Winchester MP went on to ask : "What more can the Secretary of State and his good offices do to break that impasse, because it’s patients that are losing out?"
Stephen Barclay MP responded : Well, I agree, I think it's extremely surprising that they've asked their members not to liaise with NHS managers, as they put in place those contingency plans. And I would urge the BMA Junior Doctor Committee to think of those colleagues who have to provide the cover for those strikes."
Continuing on : "As I say I want to reaffirm my thanks to all those staff within the NHS who provide the cover following the Easter period, but it puts more pressure on those other NHS staff, if the BMA Junior Doctors Committee are not willing for their members to liaise with management on sensible contingency measures, and I would urge them moving forward to do so."