The government is not unstoppable. Our junior doctors have just proved it [TWEETS, VIDEO]

England’s junior doctors have secured an important first victory against the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. On Monday, the British Medical Association (BMA) successfully pushed Hunt into lifting his threat to impose a new contract on our junior doctors. In response, the strike – planned to start on Tuesday morning – was called off at the eleventh hour.

However they have further battles ahead, as Hunt agreed to hold further talks with the BMA to come to a resolution. The medical profession is still fighting to end changes to a new employment contract that has been widely derided as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unsafe’.

The statement on the BMA’s website from government mediation body the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) – makes it clear that industrial action is on hold, but not off the table:

All parties are committed to reaching an agreement that improves safety for patients and doctors and therefore NHS Employers have agreed to extend the timeframe for the BMA to commence any industrial action by four weeks to 13 January 2016 at 17:00, to allow negotiations to progress. Within that timetable, the BMA agrees to temporarily suspend its proposed strike action and the Department of Health agrees similarly to temporarily suspend implementation of a contract without agreement.

Now Tuesday’s all out strike and the following two walk-outs planned this month will not go ahead. Hospitals are preparing for business as usual after more than 4,000 routine operations and treatments, including knee and hip replacements, were cancelled in advance preparation for the December action.

The suspension of strike action follows tense negotiations at Acas between the BMA, NHS Employers and a representative from the Department of Health. Hunt told the House of Commons on Monday afternoon:

I’m pleased to report to the house after working through the weekend, discussions led to a potential agreement early this afternoon between the BMA leadership and the government… This agreement would allow a time-limited period during which negotiations can take place and during which the BMA agrees to suspend strike action and the government agrees not to proceed unilaterally with implementing a new contract

Read on...

In this midst of this fracas, a writer from a certain tabloid also got caught red-handed preparing to write a ‘hatchet job’ piece against junior doctors, if they went on strike:

Some medics saw Hunt’s move as an attempt to let the BMA’s ballot expire so he can return to impose the contract afterwards.

The pressure is still on nonetheless – as a growing chorus of medical professionals, industry bodies, and now even celebrities (as seen in the video below) are showing, this issue will prove to be a headache for Jeremy Hunt. And it’s a headache which won’t go away until he works with the medical profession, rather than against it.

Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed