BY BEN KERRIGAN
Newham doctors have staged a 48-hour strike which will see them provide emergency care only.
The walkout is part of a long-running dispute between the British Medical Association and the government over a proposed new contract, scheduled for August this year.
The government’s proposition is for the Saturday day shift to constitute a normal wage in exchange for an increase in the normal pay. The BMA rejected this, preferring better premium rates on Saturdays to a rise in basic pay. However, Jeremy Hunt agreed to limit strenuous working conditions on weekends, but seems to have fallen short of giving doctors a satisfactory deal. Saturdays would remain normal working days from 7-5pm.
Over 20,000 operations have been canceled as a result of the industrial action described as irresponsible by the Department of Health
A department of Health spokesperson told The eye of media.com “The new contract, 90% of which was agreed with the BMA and endorsed by senior NHS leaders, is a very good deal for doctors and the NHS.” The disruption to patients is regrettable and unacceptable, we expect better from the British Medical Association”.
It is difficult to know who is right in this dispute, though it is natural to lean towards the side of doctors because of the valuable service they provide to society. This dispute has been going on for too long, and the government really should give them what they want.
The BMA’s junior doctor chairman, said in a statement: “We deeply regret disruption to patients, and have given trusts as much notice as possible to plan ahead, but the Government has left junior doctors with no choice.“Ministers have made it clear they intend to impose a contract that is unfair on junior doctors and could undermine the delivery of patient care in the long term.”
The NHS have promised to reschedule appointments affected because of the strike, but already have further strikes on the cards for the first and last week of April. We hope the problem is resolved before then.