Junior doctors have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike, in the first industrial action of its kind in 40 years. 98% voted in favour of a full strike, with the first walk out scheduled for December 1st.
Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander said that the responsibility for the disruption caused lies with Jeremy Hunt, whose handling of negotiations has led to a “fundamental breakdown in trust”.
Hunt will address the House of Commons today to respond to the news of the strike action, and will face criticism from Labour MPs for his failure to avert the strike.
Alexander has already demanded that Hunt “take responsibility”, and will likely reiterate her criticism in the Chamber later. She has said:
“Jeremy Hunt needs to take responsibility for the fact that this is the first time in 40 years that junior doctors have voted to take such significant industrial action.
“There is clearly huge anger about the way in which these negotiations have been handled by the Government.
“It is imperative that in the next 10 days Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron find a way to avoid a strike.
“There has been a fundamental breakdown in trust between the Health Secretary and junior doctors, which is bad for the NHS and bad for patients.
“I have written to the Prime Minister suggesting that an independent mediator is brought in to break the current stand-off. If he dismisses this suggestion, he will be risking patient safety in both the short and long term.”