Senior politicians and doctors are blaming Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for not doing enough to avoid the junior doctors’ strike….reports Asian Lite News
“Nobody wanted to see today’s industrial action take place, not least junior doctors,” said Justin Madders MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, commenting on today’s industrial action by junior doctors. “However, Jeremy Hunt choose to pick a fight with the very people who keep our NHS running, and he has left them with no choice but to take this action. Junior doctors don’t want to become embroiled in a political dispute but the Government’s refusal to listen to their concerns has led to this point.
“Any patient who has had their operation cancelled or appointment postponed today should be clear – don’t blame the junior doctors, blame Jeremy Hunt.”
In a statement, Dr Kailash Chand, Deputy Chairman of British Medical Association, said:“It’s little wonder that junior doctors have been driven to take industrial action for the first time in 40 years after their legitimate concerns about the proposed changes to their contracts, and the resounding impact on patients, were ignored. This strike was completely avoidable. Negotiations between the government and junior doctors started way back in 2012.
“These talks have broken down and restarted several times over the last few years but it all came to a head last year when the government said it would impose a settlement unless the BMA capitulated. What this is about is reducing unsocial hour payments to junior doctors, which is a significant component of their salary, getting doctors to work longer hours without NHS trusts being penalized and breaking the morale of the doctors.
“Patients are at risk from an overstretched workforce, not the junior doctors’ strike. It is the Government’s insistence on removing safeguards which prevent junior doctors from being forced to work dangerously long hours without breaks, with patients facing the prospect of being treated by exhausted doctors. The vast majority of medical staff, junior doctors included, care about patient safety, they care about their colleagues and they care about the NHS. And it’s with those values in mind that they are challenging the health secretary’s proposed changes. They deserve our support and empathy”.