Statement on junior doctor industrial action ballot

The NHS could not function without the industry, commitment, knowledge and skills of its junior doctors. High quality patient care is highly dependent on their presence in our hospitals - day and night, weekend and weekday, three hundred and sixty five days a year.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is deeply concerned that our junior doctors, in training and in other posts, feel so undervalued that they see no option other than to ballot on industrial action. We understand these feelings entirely and support their right to ballot and act accordingly.

Ultimately, the decision to take industrial action is one for each individual doctor. However, should junior doctors in NHS posts decide to strike, this College will support their decision.

Our College’s prime mission is the maintenance of standards of patient care. This College firmly believes that standards of patient care in the NHS will be harmed if conditions of employment for junior doctors are not improved. We will not only fail to attract doctors into an already under-doctored NHS, but fail to retain them. We are in a global competition for medical staff – the NHS risks losing that competition.

The option of a negotiated solution that would avoid strike action still exists. We urge such a solution.

Signed by:

Professor Andrew Elder, President

Dr Sue Pound, Vice President (Scotland and Northern Ireland)

Professor Sunil Bhandari, Vice President (England and Wales)

Dr Conor Maguire, Vice President (International)

Dr Jonny Guckian, Co-chair, Trainees and Members Committee

Dr Hannah Preston, Co-chair, Trainees and Members Committee