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Junior doctors' strike goes ahead as both sides stand firm

  • 5 Comments

This week’s latest strike by junior doctors looks set to go ahead as both sides stand firm once again, despite the escalation to accident and emergency cover.

Earlier today health secretary Jeremy Hunt called for medics to cross picket lines during the full walkout by junior doctors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Hunt said the deal offered to doctors had been fair and the industrial action would have an “unprecedented” impact on patient care.

He repeatedly stressed that the remaining point of contention between the government and the British Medical Association was on the rate of pay for working on Saturdays.

Jeremy hunt new website

Jeremy hunt new website

Jeremy Hunt 

The health secretary rejected calls from Labour for the new contracts to be piloted in a selection of trusts, saying the first he had learnt of it had been in the previous day’s Sunday Times. Mr Hunt said the pilot scheme would “mean seven day care will get kicked into the long grass”.

He was attacked by Labour shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander, who said his mishandling of the dispute had “poured oil” on the flames.

She asked: “How can it be safe to impose a contract with no idea of how it will effect recruitment and retention? NHS services survive on staff going the extra mile.” She added that Tuesday would be “one of the saddest days in the history of the NHS”.

“Jeremy Hunt is trying claim this dispute is only about pay when this is blatantly untrue”

Johann Malawana 

Commons health committee chair and Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston called the lates strike a “dangerous escalation”.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “Trusts are working hard to ensure the safety of their services during the strike days, but they tell us that this unprecedented industrial action carries real risk.

“The contract which is now being implemented reflects agreement to the overwhelming majority of proposals made by the BMA during our talks with them between November and February,” he said. ”Even with the outstanding issue of enhanced payment on Saturdays, we have ensured that the doctors who work them most frequently will receive increased rates of pay.”

johann malawana

johann malawana

Johann Malawana

The BMA disputed that the industrial action was about pay. Dr Johann Malawana, the junior doctors’ committee chair, said: “We have made a repeated and genuine offer to the health secretary: lift the imposition and we will call off this action. Jeremy Hunt has rejected this and so responsibility for this action now rests squarely with the government.

“Jeremy Hunt is trying claim this dispute is only about pay when this is blatantly untrue. The health secretary himself has admitted there are serious outstanding concerns around excessive working hours, training, recruitment and retention and the impact these have on the ability of the NHS to deliver a seven day service,” he added.

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • It's time to strike also - we must stand together. I think the lack of RCN proactivity may in fact lead to unwanted illegal strikes sooner than we think.

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  • Now two unions are voting for ambulance staff to strike. The RCN must be the weakest health union in British history. What is the worth of a union that can't strike?

    The RCN are promoting illegal strike action by doing nothing and blaming its members as usual.

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  • Both the RNC and GMC should strike together.
    Both workforces share the same patient worries - so why not for once, join voices and make the point louder?

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  • Laha78

    The GMC would never stand side by side with the RCN which is the issue I have. Individually, nurses have shown great support to doctors and I can only hope that whenever nurses find their voices, we'll have the same courtesy extended to us from our medical colleagues but somehow, I highly doubt it.

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  • The RCN have no back bone. Its time Nurses stood together and took a leaf out of the junior Doctor's book.

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