On Monday, a day before the unprecedented action is due to start, a junior doctor announced his intention to resign live on television over the government’s imposition of the contract. Dr Ben White told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he would be leaving his post to focus on fighting the contract.
White, who is one of a group doctors seeking a high court challenge against the contract, said: “I have taken the decision that I am resigning as a trainee doctor to focus on a legal campaign to fight the contract on behalf of my patients and on behalf of the NHS.”
Meanwhile, the BMA chairman, Mark Porter, confirmed that junior doctors were considering possible mass resignations as a way of escalating the dispute. Emails from the association’s junior doctors committee leaked to the Health Service Journal last week outlined possible ways the action could be stepped up, including a permanent walkout, the mass resignation of trainees and a recommendation that doctors seek jobs outside the NHS.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Porter said: “There is a lot of discussion among junior doctors about what steps might be taken if the government fails to respond to the industrial action this week, and no decisions have yet been taken which means they are all possible, but that doesn’t mean they are all likely or are going to happen.”
The British Medical Association has not ruled out staging a permanent junior doctors’ strike and mass resignation of trainees ahead of this week’s 48-hour walkout, which for the first time will include A&E units, in the dispute over new contracts.