Junior doctors call more strikes in contract dispute with Jeremy Hunt

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Junior doctors will take six more days of strike action in a bitter dispute over new contracts.

Three 48-hour strikes have been called after health secretary Jeremy Hunt imposed the controversial new contract instead of reaching a negotiated deal with the British Medical Association (BMA).

The BMA has also launched a legal challenge to the contract being imposed, claiming the government failed to carry out an equality assessment of the impact on medics.

Junior doctors are concerned that the changes to their pay and conditions will lead to unsafe working hours and staff shortages.

The 48-hour strikes will be held from 8am on Wednesday, March 9, Wednesday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 26.

The three walk-outs will involve all junior doctors except those on call to provide emergency cover.

Johann Malawana, who chairs the BMA junior doctors committee, said: “Imposing this contract will seriously undermine the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain junior doctors in areas of medicine with the most unsocial areas, where there are already staffing shortages.

“We have already seen NHS chief executives refusing to support an imposition, and patient representatives have said they are appalled by this move.”

The BMA said it would launch a judicial review of the government’s decision to impose the contract, based on the apparent failure of Mr Hunt to carry out an equality impact assessment (EIA).

Dr Malawana said on the BMA website: “This is yet another example of the incompetence which the government has demonstrated throughout its handling of the dispute.”