Strik­ing doc­tors sell cakes for hospice

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

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

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