Patients hit by GP strike
SEVENTY hospital appointments were cancelled when junior doctors went out on strike over a contract dispute, it has been revealed.
At least 31 of the 65 junior doctors in various departments took part in the 24-hour strike at Macclesfield Hospital on Tuesday, January 12, during a day of strikes up and down the country over proposals for a new working contract by the government.
They gathered outside the site with placards stating: ‘Not fair, not safe’.
It meant that 70 outpatient appointments were cancelled and doctors and consultants were called on to wards which were short of staff to cover appointments.
No operations were cancelled as a result of the strike.
It was the first time in the history of the NHS that junior doctors have gone on strike.
The decision to go ahead with the walk-out was taken by the British Medical Association (BMA) over a dispute with the government about new contracts, which include slashing premium pay for doctors working evenings and weekends.
Doctors argue the proposals will mean cuts to pay and long working hours that will threaten the safety of staff and patients.
A BMA spokesman said: “Junior doctors in East Cheshire did not take part in this industrial action lightly.
“But after two years of the BMA attempting to reach a resolution there has been a complete breakdown of trust between Jeremy Hunt and junior doctors because he continues to threaten to impose an unsafe and unfair contract.
“This includes removing safeguards that prevent junior doctors from being forced to work incredibly long hours without breaks – a clear threat to the safety of patients. The BMA wants a contract that is safe for patients, fair for junior doctors and good for the NHS.”
A spokesman for East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs Macclesfield Hospital, said the trust put contingencies in place to minimise disruption.
He said: “Consultants and doctors were called on to wards to do outpatient appointments.
“The industrial action is due to a national dispute over changes to junior doctors’ terms and conditions and not directly related to East Cheshire NHS Trust.”
The BMA announced yesterday (Tuesday) it has suspended a 48-hour walk-out which was planned for next Tuesday after making some progress in talks with the government.