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Junior doctors' strike: What happens next?

Junior Doctors have been striking again today over the dispute around a new contract. Tomorrow they will go back to work as normal, and there has been no indication from the NHS or the health secretary that the strikes have had an effect on their stance.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt Credit: ITV News

What happens next?

The NHS wants contracts agreed in time next intake of junior doctors in August this year. While there is no hard and fast timetable as yet, the negotiations have dragged on for months, with no sign of either the British Medical Association or the government backing down.

This could lead to the contracts being forced on junior doctors, whether they like or not.

What can the BMA and its members do if the disputed contract is imposed?

The health secretary has the power to impose the contract. The BMA would not be drawn on the details of what the reaction to such a move would be, but it has hinted at some options:

  • Full withdrawal of labour in a future strike: There are no further strikes currently planned, but the BMA said today future industrial action was a "possibility". Future strikes could include the removal of emergency care, as was initially planned for today's strike.
  • Resignations: Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair has previously warned the contract going ahead could see junior doctors "voting with their feet".
  • Future care at risk: He also said the disputed contract risks "alienating a generation of junior doctors", putting future care at risk.

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Fourth British traveller diagnosed with Zika virus

A fourth British traveller has been diagnosed with the Zika virus since the beginning of the current outbreak, Public Health England has said.

The person had recently returned from Venezuela.

It brings the total number of cases detected in the UK in 2016 up to four.

Only two cases were diagnosed in Britain through the whole of last year, in travellers who had visited Colombia and Guyana or Suriname.

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