Junior doctors: ‘We have been left with no choice’
Strike forces hundreds of operations to be cancelled in London
MORE than 1,000 operations and treatments were expected to be cancelled at hospitals across London after junior doctors again took to the picket line in protest at planned changes to working conditions.
The third walkout over pay and working hours began at 8am on Wednesday last week and ran for 48 hours.
NHS England estimates 1,068 procedures scheduled at hospitals across London over the two days will have to be rearranged due to the industrial action.
Further 48-hour strikes are planned for April 6-8 and April 26-28 if the dispute between the Government and medical union BMA cannot be resolved.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington, visited those outside Hillingdon Hospital in solidarity with their cause.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last month that controversial new working conditions would be imposed upon junior doctors after talks broke down.
The BMA has said it will apply for a judicial review of what it describes as the “unfair” contract, but Mr Hunt says the proposed legal challenge is “misconceived and is bound to fail”.
The Department of Health says the new arrangements will improve patient care outside of normal working hours and a 13.5 per cent rise in basic pay means no junior doctor will be worse off.
But the BMA claims the new contract will hit those already working the most unsociable hours and will make it harder to attract and retain doctors.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said: “We deeply regret disruption to patients, but the Government has left junior doctors with no choice.
“Ministers have made it clear they intend to impose a contract that is unfair on junior doctors and could undermine the delivery of patient care in the long term.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Further strike action is completely unnecessary and will mean tens of thousands more patients face cancelled operations – over a contract that was 90 per cent agreed with the BMA and which senior NHS leaders including Simon Stevens have endorsed as fair and safe.
“The new contract will mean an average 13.5 per cent basic pay rise, and will bring down the maximum number of hours doctors can work.” ICKENHAM residents are being asked whether or not they want a neighbourhood plan for their village.
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area.
A public meeting will be held on Saturday, March 19 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm at the village hall.
Chris Mountain, member of Ickenham Residents’ Association, said: “Neighbourhood planning gives local people more a say about the future of their area.
“There have already been lots of great ideas suggested about the future of the village – it’s green spaces, shops, heritage and housing.
“Everyone who lives, works or owns land in Ickenham is invited. About 80 neighbourhood planning groups exist across London – but none in Hillingdon yet!”
If you’re interested in attending, the meeting will be held at Ickenham Village Hall at 33 Swakeleys Road, in Ickenham, UB10 8DG.
See www.ickenham plan.wordpress.com for more information on the neighbourhood plan.