RCPCH responds to BMA vote for strike action

On 20 February the BMA confirmed that junior doctors and trainees in England voted to take strike action. The vote saw a turnout of 77% with 98% voting yes. 
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The result means that the British Medical Association (BMA) will now agree the timing and shape of strike action and we await to hear further information. The BMA has reconfirmed their commitment to taking action in March, covering a period of 72 hours, though dates have not yet been confirmed.

Separately we note that the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HSCA) has committed to strike action on 15 March 2023.

Following the announcement the RCPCH said: 

Strike action is a personal choice and we know it is a decision that junior doctors and trainees will not have taken lightly. We are here to support all our members, whatever decision they make.

The outcome of this vote is unprecedented. We are deeply distressed that our highly valued colleagues feel they have no other option than to vote for industrial action. Junior doctors and trainees are an essential part of our paediatric workforce, and crucial for the future of child health.

Local trusts will be working hard to plan and mitigate interruptions to service delivery during this period and to ensure that continuity of care will be prioritised. Any industrial action in health care will strain a system already under pressure. Government must immediately negotiate with the health care unions and openly discuss the options available for a swift resolution.

As a Royal College we have been continuing to call for support and investment in the NHS workforce from community settings through to acute teams, including a comprehensive long term workforce plan. While pay and contracts are not our remit, we will voice our members’ concerns and collect data that demonstrates how far real workforce planning is needed.

Children, young people, families, patients and the public deserve to have the best NHS care possible, and they will only do so when the workforce is valued, receives investment and is truly supported.