Five-day junior doctors' strike suspended by BMA

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Next week's junior doctors' strike, which was due to begin on September 12, has been halted.

The British Medical Association confirmed the news in a statement today.

If it had gone ahead, the strike would have run for five days, between 8am and 5pm.

A statement from the BMA read: "While the BMA had provided more than the legally required seven days’ notice ahead of industrial action, NHS England has said that it needs more time to plan for escalated action.

"Future dates planned for October, November and December will still go ahead, unless the government calls off its plans to impose a contract that has been rejected by junior doctors."

Dr Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctor committee chair, added: “Patient safety remains doctors’ primary concern which is why, following discussions with NHS England, the BMA has taken the decision to suspend next week’s industrial action.

“While the BMA provided more than the required notice, we have taken this decision to ensure the NHS has the necessary time to prepare and to put in place contingency plans to protect patient safety.

“Our hospitals are chronically understaffed, our NHS is desperately underfunded – we have to listen to our colleagues when they tell us that they need more time to keep patients safe.

“Future action is still avoidable. The BMA has repeatedly said it will call off further action if the government puts a halt to plans to force junior doctors to work under a contract they have rejected because they don’t believe it is good for the future of patient care or the profession.

“I urge Jeremy Hunt to put patients first, listen to our concerns and end this dispute through talks.”