Department of Health and BMA set out positions as second doctors' strike begins

Both the Department of Health and British Medical Association have used their websites and social media to set out their positions as a second strike by junior doctors kicked off.

Two strikes: Medics picket in Bristol this morning (Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Two strikes: Medics picket in Bristol this morning (Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

The strike over contract renegotiations began at 8am on Wednesday (10 February), and follows a first strike in January at which PRs suggested the doctors had won the battle for public opinion.

While another strike had been planned for the start of February, this was called off – in addition, today's strike was initially a 48-hour total strike, but in a concession to public goodwill, emergency care will now be provided and this strike will only last 24 hours.

The DH and BMA have provided information for the public on their website about care provision and emergency protocols during the strike, as well as stating their positions as regards the thus far unsuccessful negotiations.

"In order to ensure patient safety, the BMA has agreed a protocol with NHS England for use in the event of a major unpredictable event," says a note on the BMA website, with further documents detailing how this would work. Other background information and a Q&A is also provided.

Before the first strike, the DH was criticised – but defended itself – for publishing a letter from a leading doctor questioning whether junior doctors on strike would be available to help in the event of a Paris-style terror attack.

A page on the DH website, 'Junior doctor contract negotiations', which was first published on 8 January and has been updated with new information regularly, tells patients that GP services will operate as normal and advises: "If you have a planned operation, procedure or outpatient appointment on this day, your hospital will contact you if it needs to be rearranged."

On Twitter, the department has retweeted videos from NHS Employers on the contract renegotiations, and statements from the DH Media Centre Twitter account, a blog site that is separate from the main DH website but also hosted on

Messages of support from politicians and striking doctors have also been retweeted from the BMA Twitter account, and shared on its Facebook page.

Sadiq Khan MP supports #juniordoctors for a safe and fair contract #JuniorDoctorsStrike

Posted by British Medical Association on Wednesday, 10 February 2016

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