Doc­tor strike can­cels 200 ap­point­ments

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS - KAREN BRIT­TON

JU­NIOR doc­tors have thanked pa­tients and the pub­lic for their sup­port af­ter more than 200 ap­point­ments were can­celled dur­ing their lat­est strike ac­tion.

Doc­tors pick­eted out­side Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal as part of a two-day strike in protest against govern­ment changes to work­ing con­tracts. It was the third time in three months doc­tors have walked out over the is­sue, but the first time it has lasted more than 24 hours.

The hos­pi­tal post­poned two op­er­a­tions and 98 out­pa­tient ap­point­ments on Wed­nes­day (March 9) and 107 ap­point­ments yes­ter­day (Thurs­day, March 10).

But the doc­tors, mem­bers of the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (BMA) union, said they wel­comed sup- port from the pub­lic.

Rosie Long, BMA rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Mac­cles­field, said: “On be­half of the ju­nior doc­tors at Mac­cles­field I would like to thank the gen­eral pub­lic for their over­whelm­ing sup­port through­out our in­dus­trial ac­tion.

“No ju­nior doc­tor wants to take part in in­dus­trial ac­tion and we apol­o­gise to pa­tients who have ex­pe­ri­enced dis­rup­tions.

“We feel we have been left with no choice since the govern­ment has cho- sen to im­pose a new con­tract rather than con­tin­u­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with the BMA.

“At Mac­cles­field we have been very for­tu­nate for the sup­port from our con­sul­tant col­leagues as well as the other staff.”

The fo­cus of the dis­pute is over how much doc­tors should be paid to work week­ends and the BMA wants bet­ter mea­sures to pro­tect doc­tors from work­ing long hours with­out breaks. The 48-hour walk­out sig­nals an es­cala- tion of the dis­pute af­ter health sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt re­fused to back down and de­cided to im­pose the new con­tracts.

A spokesman for East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal, said the longer strike had more im­pact on ap­point­ments. Con­tin­gency plans in­cluded con­sul­tants com­ing onto the wards to keep ap­point­ments. He said: “Pa­tients who had ap­point­ments post­poned were phoned the day be­fore. We had to leave it this late in case the strike was called off. The trust put con­tin­gen­cies in place to min­imise dis­rup­tion and en­sure the safety of its ser­vices.

“The in­dus­trial ac­tion is due to a na­tional dis­pute over terms and con­di­tions and is not di­rectly re­lated to East Cheshire NHS Trust.”

Fur­ther 48-hour strikes are planned from 8am on April 6 and April 26.

●● Ju­nior doc­tors on strike out­side Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal

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