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Junior doctors' dispute

Industrial action by junior doctors in England – planned for October, November and December – has been suspended.

File 171274
Junior doctors march in London. Photo: Garry Knight

Industrial action was originally announced to take place in the form of a full withdrawal of labour for five days, between the hours of 8am and 5pm during the following periods:

  • Wednesday 5 October to Tuesday 11 October
  • Monday 14 November to Friday 18 November
  • Monday 5 December to Friday 9 December

The dispute concerns a new contract for junior doctors which the government has announced it will impose from October. In July junior doctors, members of the BMA, voted to reject the proposed contract. On August 31 the British Medical Association (BMA) Council confirmed it supported a recommendation for industrial action from the BMA Junior Doctors Committee.

Claire Sullivan, the CSP's director of employment relations and union services, said:

'We agree with the concerns expressed about the need to resource seven-day services properly, both in terms of numbers of staff and rates of pay for people working unsocial hours. Stretching five day services over seven without additional resourcing is unsafe and ineffective for patients and unfair to healthcare staff.

'We support people’s right to take strike action - we know that health workers are hugely committed to their patients and only ever consider this as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. 'We hope a solution can be found in partnership that is in the best interests of patients, NHS staff and the health service as a whole.'

Advice for CSP members

There will be no emergency cover during these periods and the strike action will affect all services, including A&E, intensive care and maternity units.

Employers are likely to be putting in place measures for cover that are different from the previous periods of action by junior doctors.

In most cases, this change will not affect CSP members.

New or different duties

However, it is possible that employers will ask physiotherapy staff to take on new or different duties for the duration of the action.

In this situation CSP advises the plans should be developed and agreed with your local CSP reps working with other health unions.

In emergency situations, employers are entitled to make reasonable requests for staff to change their duties as long as this falls within their scope of practice and competence.

However, it is important that change of duties requested are critical to the safety of patients, rather than directed at undermining the effectiveness of the BMA's action.

Legal rights

Legally, only employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.

CSP members may face the matter of crossing an official picket line. Refusal to do so could render CSP members liable to disciplinary action including deduction of salary as there is a contractual requirement to attend work.

We encourage CSP members to show solidarity by talking to your junior doctors work colleagues on picket lines in your own time, where feasible, and supporting any demonstrations they may organise, at lunchtime, for example.

If you have any queries relating to the above please do not hesitate to contact your CSP workplace steward.

More information


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Last reviewed

26 September 2016
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