The British Medical Association (BMA) has called off next week’s planned five-day strike over new contracts due to concerns over patient safety.
Future dates planned for October, November and December will still go ahead unless the government calls off its plans to impose the new contract from next month.
The walkout – which was only announced last week – sparked fears care would not able to be delivered on short notice. The General Medical Council warned doctors that the stoppage would lead to “harm and suffering to patients”.
Dr Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said:
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 planned national five-day strikes are the longest in the history of the NHS. So far this year there have five walkouts in the dispute though none have yet last this long.
The planned winter strikes are also expected to be a heavier burden to the already laboured NHS due to the colder weather.