Junior doctors back on strike at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital in campaign against new contract on pay and working hours

Junior doctors protesting outside the Lister Hospital during a previous one-day strike in January

Junior doctors protesting outside the Lister Hospital during a previous one-day strike in January - Credit: Archant

Junior doctors at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital are back on strike today for the third time this year as they make a stand against the government’s new contract on their pay and conditions.

Doctors braved the rain to stand outside the Lister, although many have joined picket lines in their home towns or in London.

Junior doctors will provide emergency care only for 48 hours today and tomorrow, with two further 48-hour strikes planned from 8am on April 8 and April 26.

Rowan Gossedge, 28, who is a trainee in intensive care and the Stevenage representative for the British Medical Association, said: “It has been said that the new contract will leave the work force jet-lagged.

“Do you really want to be treated by a jet-lagged doctor?

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“None of our concerns are being considered at the moment.

“The government has said it is going to impose this contract but it hasn’t even been written yet.

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“The safeguards we want are not in place and the big issues haven’t been resolved.

“We’ve got to try to stop it.”

The contract was imposed last month by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

It will mean Saturday day shifts would be paid at a normal rate in return for a hike in basic pay.

The new contracts will also see 7am to 5pm on Saturday regarded as a normal working day, and doctors working one in four or more Saturdays will received a pay premium of 30 per cent.

East and North Herts NHS Trust which runs the hospital said around 320 outpatient appointments have been postponed and re-booked and less than 10 routine operations have been rescheduled as a result of the strike.

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