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Statement on industrial action by junior doctors in early 2016

Published: 08 Jan 2016 in Society news

Given the crucial work undertaken by junior doctors in the NHS, the British Pharmacological Society is disappointed that the Department of Health, NHS Employers and BMA leadership have been unable to agree terms and conditions of employment for doctors in training. The Society supports the view of junior doctors in England that they have no option other than to take industrial action in January and February 2016.
The British Pharmacological Society provides education, training and assessment opportunities for junior doctors working around the clock to provide general medical and specialist care in NHS hospitals. The Society recognises the role junior doctors play in contributing to medical research and teaching, maintaining the UK skills base, its valued national healthcare model, and its international reputation for medical excellence and innovation.
The British Pharmacological Society has previously welcomed reports of progress in negotiations in December 2015, following which plans for industrial action were suspended. At the time, we emphasised that the NHS faces significant strategic challenges in the 21st century: high-quality patient care and research into medicines development are critically important. Perhaps most important of all is the retention in the NHS of our skilled junior doctors and future clinical scientists on whom the UK depends to deliver its healthcare, teaching and innovative research.
The British Pharmacological Society still firmly believes that retaining a world-class workforce is central to the UK’s capacity in meeting those challenges and is concerned that the ability to practice safely, to participate in student teaching and to conduct effective research, may be significantly eroded by the proposal currently offered to junior doctors. The retention of junior doctors with clinical pharmacology expertise is of particular importance in ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of drug discovery and development.
We now sincerely hope that dialogue is able to continue in order that terms and conditions of employment, and the spirit in which negotiations are conducted, reflect the essential contributions of junior doctors.
Professor David Webb, President
Professor Steve Hill, President–Elect
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Vice President – Clinical
Dr Patricia McGettigan, Co-Vice President – Clinical