Striking doctors sell cakes for hospice
STRIKING doctors sold cakes from the picket line to raise money for East Cheshire Hospice as they protested over contracts.
Junior doctors picketed outside Macclesfield Hospital as part of a strike last Wednesday and Thursday against government changes to their contracts.
It was the fourth strike in recent months.
As a result, 118 outpatient appointments have been cancelled this week – 67 appointments on Wednesday and 51 on Thursday. No operations have been cancelled but hospital bosses admitted a small number have been cancelled across the week due to ‘operational pressures’ not linked to the strike which affected bed availability.
As they picketed outside the hospital, doctors held a bake sale in aid of the hospice.
Dr Rosie Long, junior doctor and representative for union the British Medical Association (BMA), said: “We work closely with the hospice and recognise all its hard work so wanted to take this opportunity to support the charity. We raised £151 and would like to thank members of the public and hospital staff for their kind donations. We had strong support from the public and colleagues who came to visit the picket.
“We are appreciative of this continuing support. We apologise to patients who have been inconvenienced.”
The dispute stems from government plans to introduce seven-day working throughout the NHS. Junior doctors argue that proposed changes to their contracts will mean cuts to pay, especially for work during evenings and weekends. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has refused to back down and decided to impose the new contracts.
A spokesman for East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs Macclesfield Hospital, said contingencies were in place to minimise disruption.
He said: “The industrial action is due to a national dispute over changes to junior doctor’s terms and conditions and is not directly related to East Cheshire NHS Trust. The trust apologises for any inconvenience caused and asks for our patients’ understanding during the action, which is currently due to be followed by a further 48-hour strikes starting on April 26.
“The trust will advise patients of the likely implications of this further action nearer the time.”
During the strike action, the trust will provide updates as required through its main Twitter account @EastCheshire NHS and its website eastcheshire.nhs.uk.
●● Junior doctors with their cakes on the picket outside Macclesfield Hospital
●● E-fit showing the man police want to speak to