Junior doctors go on strike outside Stevenage's Lister Hospital
PUBLISHED: 10:36 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 January 2016
Junior doctors at Stevenage's Lister Hospital are joining thousands in a 24-hour strike across the UK today in a dispute over pay and working hours.
Around 20 doctors who are members of the British Medical Association are displaying placards at the hospital entrance on Coreys Mill Lane and cheering as passing motorists beep their horns.
The medics are disputing the government’s plans to introduce a new contract which could see their basic pay increased by 11 per cent but could stop them gettting paid for unsociable hours.
Rowan Gosssedge, 28, a core trainee in intensive care is acting as spokesman for the Lister Hospital doctors.
He said: “Forty five thousand junior doctors have had a look at the proposals from the government and what it’s going to mean for us next year, and how it’s going to affect our working conditions, our family lives and pay.
“We can’t possibly see it’s going to be fair for us and safe for us and the patients we look after.
“I know the difference in the quality of my work after 70 hours compared to the first 10 hours and with the loss of contractual hours it just can’t be safe.”
East and North Herts NHS Trust issued a statement saying all urgent care centre services at the hospital will continue to operate as normal during the strike, although somewaiting times may be longer.
It said some clinic appointments and planned surgery have been also be postponed, but anyone affected will already have been contacted. The junior doctors have elected to continue to staff A & E services.
NHS trust chief executive Nick Carver said:
“Like all NHS organisations across the country, we have tried and tested contingency plans to deal with a wide range of disruptions, including industrial action. These plans, which have been developed locally with the support of our NHS colleagues across the county, are in place to protect the safety, welfare and service provided to our patients.
“The BMA’s local representatives have worked with us to ensure that all junior doctors working in our hospitals are clear about what services are affected by the industrial action. In essence, we have planned for this day as if it were a bank holiday.”
The Stevenage doctors say they plan to join further industrial action for a second, 48-hour period of providing emergency care only beginning on January 26 and a third day of action on February 10, which will see a full withdrawal of junior doctors’ labour between 8am and 5pm.