21 February 2023
Commenting on the announcement by the BMA of industrial action by junior doctors, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“We understand and recognise the serious challenges in Emergency Medicine and the pressures that our junior colleagues and peers face. We believe that all health workers should feel valued, respected, supported, and heard. We know that there is a serious retention crisis in the health service and existing staff are stretched more than ever before and are working in ever-increasingly-difficult conditions.
“Our members and colleagues have an individual right to take industrial action as appropriate. Political leaders must recognise the challenges and difficult conditions facing staff. We hope that a resolution can be found quickly without the need for this industrial action by junior doctors to take place. We also urge the government to include trainees and SAS doctors in any negotiations, resolution or deal that is made. They are an equally crucial part of the workforce and must be valued as such.
“While strikes may disrupt emergency care and pose a risk for patient safety, patient safety has long been at risk as a result of years of under-resourcing, under-funding, lack of staff, lack of beds, and inadequate and insufficient community and social care. Staff deserve better and so do patients. Every effort must be made to retain our competent and valuable staff in the health service, working on the frontline and delivering for patients.
“Patients should continue to seek help in the usual way if they have a medical emergency but should expect longer waits and a disrupted service.”
Notes to editor