Junior doctors have announced to have initiated a fresh wave of strikes against the government today as it cancelled more than 5,000 operations. Doctors all over England are walking out from providing non-emergency care on a 48 hour strike starting at 8am in a continued dispute with the Government over a new contract.
According to the protesters, their action is focused on a Department of Health analysis published last week that conceded the new contract would indirectly impact disproportionately on women. In an announcement in February by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, he explained that the deal would be imposed amid a continuing row over rates of pay for Saturday shifts. Whereas, the British Medical Association has threatened an all-out strike with no emergency cover later this month – despite warnings it will put patients’ lives at risk.
Currently, hospital doctors below consultant level are on strike but it will not be extended to accident and emergency departments. The national incident director for NHS England, Dr Anne Rainsberry, revealed earlier today that “we’ve already seen that a 48-hour strike puts considerably more pressure on the NHS and it’s deeply regrettable that thousands of patients are still facing disruption because of this recurring action.” It was explained that “as always, the safety and care of patients is our number one priority and everything possible is being done to make sure patients will still be able to access urgent and emergency services.” Dr Anne added that “following closely on from the four-day Easter break, this will be a difficult period, especially over the course of the second day.”
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