Junior doctors sparked fresh strike fears today as British Medical Association (BMA) members voted to reject the terms of a new contract offered to them by the government.
BMA members voted 58% to 42% against accepting the deal.
Fears are now resurfacing either that hospitals will face the prospect of more strikes, or that the dispute between junior doctors and the government could roll on indefinitely.
Medics have walked out of work on strike three times since then, as the dispute rolled on over government pressure to take more shifts at evenings and weekends.
One junior doctor from Walkden, 26-year-old Sophie Connor, told SalfordOnline.com back in January that she was one of many already working 70-hour weeks.
“If this was about money, then I could understand the government’s opposition to these contracts, she said from a BMA picket line outside Salford Royal hospital.
“But we want the NHS to stay public and to stay free for people.”
Details of the proposed new terms for junior doctors and medical students were outlined following talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the government in May.
Following the results, BMA junior doctor leader Dr Johann Malawana announced his resignation.
“The result of the vote is clear, and the government must respect the informed decision junior doctors have made,” he said.
“Any new contract will affect a generation of doctors working for the NHS in England, so it is vital that it has the confidence of the profession.
“Having spoken to many junior doctors across the country in recent weeks it was clear that, while some felt the new contract represented an improved offer, others had reservations about what it would mean for their lives, their patients and the future delivery care of the NHS – there was also considerable anger and mistrust towards the government’s handling of this dispute.
“These concerns need to be fully addressed before any new contract can come into effect, and, in light of the result, I believe a new chair will be better placed to lead on this work.”