Senior medics wade into junior doctors strike row

This follows a vote by junior doctors in July to reject the proposed contract, and repeated attempts by the BMA over the past two months to work constructively with the government to address the outstanding areas of concern.

Hospital trust chiefs say it is too early to say how many operations and appointments will be cancelled or postponed because of the first strike, which will be the longest in NHS history, but they will be contacting patients soon.

Hospitals with just days to prepare before the five-day junior doctors' strike are now under added pressure over the news of more to come.

The doctors will stage a full withdrawal of labour on 5 consecutive days between the hours of 8am and 5pm from Monday 12 September to Friday 16 September.

Despite the British Medical Association supporting the action, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC) said it was "disappointed" and the proposed strikes were disproportionate.

A host of health organisations have also questioned the decision to extend the bitter campaign, which has been called "extremely worrying" and a "devastating blow to patients".

"This does not add up to a case for a continuous wave of strikes which might not have any benefit to junior doctors, but which will certainly be bad for patients and put further pressure on an already very stretched NHS".

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The most recent Figures from NHS Education Scotland found a 27% per cent hike in the number of junior doctors wanting to train in the Scottish health service for 2016-17. "Confidential papers drawn up by the BMA have suggested there could be five days of strikes each month for the rest of the year", reports the BBC.

But a Department of Health spokesman said: "As doctors' representatives, the BMA should be putting patients first not playing politics in a way that will be immensely damaging for vulnerable patients".

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust health charity, told the Today Programme that the planned strikes would represent a "quite significant step up" in terms of what is likely to be asked of senior doctors tasked with ensuring that care continues during industrial action.

Prime Minister Theresa May has urged doctors to call of the strikes.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS leaders, said the planned strikes could bring disruption to millions of patients and Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said the announcement represented a "serious escalation" of the dispute. "That, to me, is playing politics".

Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: "Genuine efforts to resolve the dispute through talks have been met with an unwillingness to engage and, at times, deafening silence from the health secretary, leaving junior doctors with no choice but to take further action".

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