• BMA council suggests three possible days for industrial action
  • Two days will involve a full walkout including urgent and emergency care
  • Mark Porter says ministers must remove threat to impose a deal

Junior doctors could carry out three days of strike action next month including two days without cover for urgent or emergency care.

The British Medical Association council today approved the possible dates for industrial action ahead of the results of a ballot of junior doctor members, which closes on 18 November.

The proposed dates for industrial action are:

  • 8am Tuesday 1 December to 8am Wednesday 2 December – emergency care only.
  • 8am to 5pm, Tuesday 8 December – full walkout.
  • 8am to 5pm, Wednesday 16 December – full walkout.

The BMA said it was releasing the information to give as much notice as possible to employers so the NHS can ensure necessary cover can be put in place to “minimise disruption to other NHS staff and, above all, to patients”.

Consultants and other NHS staff groups such as nurses will be needed to cover gaps created during the strike.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said: “Our dispute is with the government and our ballot for industrial action is a last resort in the face of their continued threat to impose a new contract.

“Industrial action is the last resort for a reason: it comes only when every other avenue has been exhausted. The BMA has been explicit in what it needs to change in junior doctor contract proposals. The government’s refusal to work with us through genuine negotiations, and its continued threat to impose an unsafe and unfair contract leaves us with no alternative.

“Today’s decision by the BMA council sends a clear message to the government – the medical profession as a whole is standing in solidarity with junior doctors.”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers responded to the announcement saying: ”We know this will have a huge impact on patient care and we urge the BMA to avoid putting patients and the NHS in this position by returning to talks with us. Proposed strike action, as outlined by the BMA would be hugely regrettable.

”Employers across the NHS will be extremely disappointed and anxious about the difficult situation they will find themselves in to make sure work schedules are met and patient care is not compromised.”