Ju­nior doc­tors: ‘We have been left with no choice’

Strike forces hun­dreds of op­er­a­tions to be can­celled in Lon­don

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

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