NHS hospitals across England are struggling to cope up with the routine and emergency services as about 40,000 junior doctors launched their first 24-hour strike…..reports Asian Lite News
The industrial action already caused cancellation of 4,000 operations and procedures. Striking doctors set up 100 picket lines across the NHS hospitals in England. Senior doctors are struggling to cover the services.
“The dispute is not about pay, it is about safety of patients and fairness for doctors, “ said Dr Kailash Chand, one of the senior most GPs in the country and the vice chairman of British Medical Association (BMA). “After weeks of further negotiations, it is clear that the Government is still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously. Furthermore, the Government has repeatedly dragged its feet throughout this process, initially rejecting our offer of talks and failing to make significant movement during negotiations.
“We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the Government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand.”
Junior doctors are striking over a proposed contract which reduces the hours in the evenings and at weekends that qualify for pay premiums, but increases basic pay instead.
The Government says the contract will help hospitals to provide more seven-day services for patients. But junior doctors said this will cut their pay in the long term and remove safeguards that prevent them from working excessive hours. This is the first of three strikes planned by the BMA.
On 26 January, junior doctors will only provide emergency cover for 48 hours from 8am – and this will be followed by the first-ever full walkout between 8am and 5pm on 10 February.
In a last-minute plea for junior doctors to call off the action, Prime Minister David Cameron said the walkout would cause “real difficulties for patients and potentially worse”.
Both sides in the dispute have stressed urgent care will not be affected by the strike, but patients are being urged to only attend A&E wards if they have a genuine emergency.