JUNIOR DOCTORS’ STRIKE - Government plans ‘bad for doctors and dangerous for patients’

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Junior doctors at Chesterfield Royal Hospital say planned new contracts being imposed by the Government are bad for medical professionals and dangerous for patients.

They made the claims today (January 12) during the first of three planned strikes after talks broke down over planned changes to working conditions for thousands of junior doctors around the country.

Striking junior doctors outside the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Striking junior doctors outside the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

The British Medical Association (BMA) is concerned about pay for weekend working, career progression and safeguards to protect doctors from being over-worked.

The stoppage went ahead despite a last-minute plea from Prime Minister David Cameron, after talks between the BMA and the Government, through arbitration service ACAS failed to reach an agreement, after a planned strike was suspended last year.

Junior doctor David Restall, who is currently based at Chesterfield Royal, said: “The thing that we are most adverse to is that these plans will have a huge impact on us and this will not be safe for our patients. It is an absolute privilege to be able to do this job, but we will be working longer hours and we will be more tired, and that is going to impact on our decision making. We need to be able to look after our patients the very best we can.”

There are more than 55,000 junior doctors in England - covering those who have just graduated from medical school through to those with more than a decade of experience. During this strike, junior doctors assigned to emergency roles have turned in for work, with another stoppage planned for January 26 and a full walkout set to take place on February 10”

BMA leader Dr Mark Porter said: “We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option.”

Emergency and essential services at Chesterfield Royal Hospital will not affected by the strike, a spokesman said.

Medical Director Dr Gail Collins said: “We are protecting our emergency department and the critical services in our hospital, including children’s and maternity care. These will not be affected by any strike action. We are using similar plans we agreed with our medical teams at the end of 2015, when national action was originally planned.

“That means using our staff resources in the best possible way.”

Pictured: Dr David Restall on the picket lines outside Chesterfield Royal.