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Protesters outside the Department of Health earlier this month as junior doctors pledged to fight on PA/Press Association Images

Junior doctors plan three more strikes as bitter dispute over new contracts rumbles on

WT24 Desk

JUNIOR doctors have announced three more strikes as a bitter dispute over new contracts rumbles on, The Sun reports. The British Medical Association has said each strike will take place over 48 hours – ramping up their previous 24-hour bouts of industrial action. The strike action will affect emergency care only.

 The doctors’ union also announced that it is to seek a judicial review into the Government’s plans to impose new contracts.Dr Johann Malawana, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, urged the Government to return to the negotiating table, claiming the new contracts would cause junior medics to jump ship and seek work abroad.

In a statment Dr Malawana said: “In recent weeks, I have heard from thousands of junior doctors across the country, and the resounding message is that they cannot and will not accept what the Government is trying to do.”  Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he would force the new contracts on thousands of junior doctors after talks with the BMA broke down. The main sticking point is over Saturday pay, which the union wants to be set at a premium.

The dates planned for industrial action are from 8am on Wednesday March 9 to 8am on Friday March 11, from 8am on Wednesday April 6 to 8am on Friday April 8, and from 8am on Tuesday April 26 to 8am on Thursday April 28. The BMA has already staged two walkouts in recent weeks.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokeswoman said: “We have been clear throughout discussions with junior doctors that we want to work with them to look at how we bring about a seven-day NHS which we think is in the interests of patients. “It’s regrettable if they are going to strike again. I’m sure discussions with them will continue.”

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