RCPsych responds to junior doctors voting in favour of industrial action

Statement / comment
22 February 2023

Junior doctors voted in favour of industrial action in the BMA ballot this week. The College has produced a special FAQ page about the industrial action and what it might mean for members.

Commenting on the news, Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“Junior doctors, alongside other NHS staff, are the beating heart of the NHS and we thank them for their incredible work and professionalism.

“The past few years have been especially challenging for our junior doctor colleagues, through the pandemic and now facing an ever-increasing demand for services. This has meant that the workforce challenges we face today have never been more severe.

“The pressures placed on NHS mental health services mean it is a stressful environment to work in, made more difficult by ongoing budget cuts, as well as challenges to recruit and retain staff. Understandably, our junior doctors want to know they are valued, and this is why feelings on industrial action are so strong.

“As the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists, at all stages of their careers, it is not our role to advise members on whether they should take part in the industrial action, this is for individuals to decide.

“I know this will be a difficult decision, but I am confident that if our psychiatrists in training decide to take industrial action, they will do so with careful consideration, working alongside our psychiatric consultants and SAS doctors, to balance the potential risks to patient care and service provision, alongside their own wellbeing.

“We will continue to champion the voice of psychiatry, to influence Government to push for a fully funded multi-year workforce strategy that will grow the psychiatric workforce. We will also push for a significant investment into the retention and mental health support for health and care staff.

“In order to deliver the best possible care to our patients, we need a workforce that is motivated, supported, and happy in their jobs."

We would like to remind all our members of our Psychiatrists' Support Service (PSS). This is a free, rapid, high-quality peer support service offered by telephone to psychiatrists of all grades who may be experiencing personal or work-related difficulties.

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