The stop-start nature of the BMA campaign against the NHS in relation to the junior doctors’ contract dispute is being blamed for a significant number of doctors leaving or threatening to leave the union.
The latest act in this ongoing saga relates to the recent decision to call a series of five day strikes and then suspend the same strikes within a short timeframe as a result of Government pressure. The reason for calling off the strike has been due to concerns around patient safety which have been raised. These issues have persisted throughout the campaign of strikes that took place earlier this year and it does appear as though the Government have broken the resolve of the BMA in calling off their planned strikes. Some vocal members of the union have questioned the strategies implemented by the union and the leadership, or lack thereof, that has been shown throughout this long running dispute.
The BMA signed off on a contract in May which was put to its members and rejected in a 58:42 referendum decision. Some commentators have stated that this failed referendum bid and the ill-advised series of five-day strikes are illustrative of a union which is out of step with its members. There have been calls to potentially set up an alternative organisation to represent the views of junior doctors in this dispute and going forward. Quite how much ground this might gather at a time when a resolution to this ongoing dispute still seems out of reach remains to be seen.