The GMC has published a response to the recent BMA ballot of its junior members set out below
19 Nov 2015
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced the results of its ballot of junior members in England and has confirmed that it will hold three days of industrial action in December.
Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:
‘We are disappointed that it has not yet been possible to resolve this dispute and we hope that both sides will renew their efforts to seek a satisfactory outcome.
‘We welcome the BMA’s public commitment to minimise the impact on patients – that must now be everyone’s first priority.
‘As we have made clear, we expect doctors in training who plan to take part in the BMA’s action to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that arrangements will be in place to care for their patients, and to inform their senior colleagues and employers of their intentions in good time. Working within their organisations, senior doctors will now start working with employers and the wider healthcare system on plans to make sure there is a safe service, so that the impact on patients is kept to a minimum.
‘Doctors have a legal right to take industrial action. They care deeply for the welfare of patients and we are confident they will act responsibly in what is a tense and difficult situation. However, as our guidance makes clear, if a doctor’s actions caused patients serious harm, or put them at risk of serious harm, we have a statutory duty to investigate, and the doctor must be prepared to justify the decisions they have made.’
Professor Terence Stephenson, the Chair of the General Medical Council, said:
‘Doctors in training are a hugely valued part of the medical workforce. We recognise the strength of feeling which has been expressed through the results of today’s ballot.
‘Whatever their views, we expect and are confident that senior doctors will do everything they can to make sure patients receive a safe service on the days when action is being taken. And of course in the event of a major incident we know and would expect that the entire profession would respond immediately.
‘It is important at this difficult time that all of us in the profession remember our responsibilities – to each other and to our patients.’
Notes to editors
The GMC published advice for doctors in training considering industrial action before the British Medical Association opened its ballot for junior members in England on Thursday 5 November 2015. This advice, which includes a Q&A, can be found on the GMC’s website.
About the GMC
The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.
- We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
- We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
- We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public’s confidence in doctors, at risk.
We are not here to protect doctors – their interests are protected by others. Our job is to protect the public.