Head of junior doctors in leadership challenge ahead of strike decision

first_imgSince then Dr McCourt has drawn up plans for five-day strikes in protest at the terms – despite previously describing the contract  as “safe” and “fair”. The doctors challenging her are members of Justice for Health, a campaign group which is waiting to hear the judgement of a High Court case which accused the Health Secretary of acted beyond his powers in forcing the contract’s imposition.Dr White said he and Dr Masood were seeking the leadership of the key committee, because they were concerned that the union was failing to properly communicate with its members and with the public. It comes amid deep divisions within the medical profession about the planned strikes, which senior doctors have urged the union to call off.Dr McCourt was only elected as chair of the BMA’s JDC in July.That followed the resignation of then chairman Dr Johann Malawana, when a poll of junior doctor rejected the contract he had backed. Dr Ben White (far left) and Dr Nadia Masood (far right) will challenge Dr Ellen McCourt to leadership of the BMA’s junior doctors committeeCredit:Alexander Christie Justice for Health outside High Court The junior doctor leading strike action is to be challenged over her position, as medics descend into war over whether to embark on week-long walkouts.A meeting today will see an attempt to depose Dr Ellen McCourt as chairman of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee (JDC) amid furious rows about plans for weeks of strikes.The medic – who has only been in post since July – will be challenged for the leadership of the committee by two junior doctors who believe the union has failed to communicate with its members, while leading them into the most extreme action in NHS history.The all-day meeting will decide whether to proceed with repeated five-day walkouts, which are due to start on October 5th. Senior medics and the head of the NHS have raised fears that lives will be lost if up to 50,000 doctors abandon their posts for a week a month, in the run up to Christmas. Last week, a meeting of the union’s council urged the committee to think again and to consider former of protest against their new contract which are less likely to put patients at risk.Now the JDC will meet to discuss whether to go ahead, or scale back or cancel action.Until now, strikes have been limited to two days.A number of doctors are calling for strikes to be restricted to such timescales, amid growing concern about the safety of strike action, as the NHS heads into winter, and fears of a public backlash.The union abandoned the first five-day strike – due earlier this month – following warnings that it was too dangerous, after receiving thousands of letters from thousands of doctors. Saturday’s all day meeting will hold elections, at which Dr Ben White and Dr Nadia Masood – two junior doctors who are leading a legal challenge against the contract – will jointly challenge Dr Ellen McCourt for leadership of the committee.last_img read more