The Junior Doctors Committee of the BMA has announced a fresh series of strike action dates in its dispute with the NHSE over pay erosion and its impact on recruitment and retention. This will be the most extensive industrial action ever taken by doctors in the NHS and the timing of it is certain to exert maximum pressure on the Government and well as the NHS provision of services.

Some have speculated that the announcement is aimed at finessing a deal from the employers in the wake of the settlement of the Consultants pay dispute which would lead to the action being deferred or called off. However, this cannot be gainsaid and if the action takes place there could be substantial additional demand on general practices from patients seeking advice and reassurance. Cancelled diagnostic appointments and possible early discharges as Hospitals seek to prepare for the action would rebound on practices.

As with previous periods of industrial action the C&M ICB Medical Directorate has issued a statement on its position with respect to the actions expected of General Practice during the forthcoming action and this is again supportive and non-directive.

In line with previous correspondence ahead of industrial action, we would reiterate that practices should take appropriate action within their contract that they feel they need to do to manage demand and capacity safely in the best interests of patients. This will include managing same-day urgent demand and recognising Practices may need to act flexibly to change their appointments according to demand faced during the strike period and before/following “.

The full letter from Jonathan Griffiths, Associate Medical Director is attached.