Govern­ment claims strike could cost lives

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The Philip­pine mil­i­tary is un­der in­creased to res­cue more than 20 for­eign hostages af­ter their ex­trem­ist cap­tors be­headed a Cana­dian man. Abu Sayyaf gun­men be­headed John Rids­del on Mon­day in the south­ern prov­ince of Sulu, spark­ing con­dem­na­tions and prompt­ing Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau to pledge to help the Philip­pines pur­sue the ex­trem­ists be­hind the “heinous act”. Rids­del’s head, which was placed in a plas­tic bag, was dumped by mo­tor­cy­cle-rid­ing mil­i­tants on Mon­day night in Jolo town in Sulu, a prov­ince about 95km south of Manila, where the Abu Sayyaf and al­lied gun­men are be­lieved to be hold­ing 22 for­eign hostages from six Western and Asian coun­tries. The Philip­pine mil­i­tary and po­lice said “there will be no let-up” in the ef­fort to com­bat the mil­i­tants and find the hostages, even though they have had lit­tle suc­cess in safely se­cur­ing their free­dom. Thou­sands of ju­nior doc­tors have posted picket lines out­side hos­pi­tals around Eng­land in the first all-out strike in the his­tory of Bri­tain’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice.

The two-day strike, which started yes­ter­day, marks the first time that vi­tal NHS emer­gency ser­vices have been af­fected by in­dus­trial ac­tion.

The strike re­flects the im­passe be­tween the govern­ment and the ju­nior doc­tors, who are physi­cians with up to 10 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, over the govern­ment’s pledge to greatly ex­pand Na­tional Health Ser­vice care on week­ends.

The fi­nan­cial dis­pute cen­tres on pay­ment for week­end shifts and whether Satur­day should be treated as a nor­mal work­ing day.

Health Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt in­sisted the govern­ment would not be “black­mailed” into scrap­ping its elec­tion pledge to bol­ster week­end ser­vices. He said that prom­ise was a cen­tre­piece of the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s plat­form in the 2015 elec­tion.

“I don’t think any union has the right to black­mail the govern­ment, to force the govern­ment to aban­don a man­i­festo prom­ise that the Bri­tish peo­ple have voted on,” he said.

More than 125,000 ap­point­ments and oper­a­tions have been can­celled and will need to be re­ar­ranged due to the strike, a re­sult of the long-run­ning dis­pute be­tween the govern­ment and the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Hunt warned the walk­out would cause par­tic­u­lar risks for pa­tients need­ing emer­gency room treat­ment and those in ma­ter­nity wards and in­ten­sive care units.

Mark Porter, head of the med­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion, told the BBC that se­nior con­sult­ing physi­cians would pro­vide emer­gency care while the ju­nior doc­tors are on strike. He said the govern­ment was mis­lead­ing the pub­lic by claim­ing the job ac­tion put lives at risk.

“The Health Sec­re­tary is try­ing to find some way to throw mud at the ju­nior doc­tors of this country who have been pro­vid­ing week­end and night emer­gency cover since the NHS started,” he said.

WALK OUT: Doc­tors on a picket line yes­ter­day

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