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Camden and Islington doctors strike after further contract disputes

PUBLISHED: 09:35 10 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:57 10 February 2016

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Archant

Junior doctors have walked out of the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals for the second time in weeks over contract disputes.

Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

The strikes, which began at 8am, will go on for 24 hours and will result in emergency care only being provided by the hospitals.

The action follows a strike last month, which saw the Whittington Hospital cancel 21 operations and ten clinics and the Royal Free Hospital cancel 31 operations and 14 clinics. Both hospitals have almost 250 junior doctors working in employment.

The strikes were initially called off by the British Medical Association but after further negotiations failed, they confirmed industrial action because “the government puts politics before patients.”

The Whittington Hospital released a statement saying:”We have a clear plan in place that will allow us to continue to deliver safe care to our patients and we are working hard to keep any outpatient or clinic cancellations to a minimum, although it is likely that we may have to cancel some appointments and planned operations to ensure we that we have enough doctors available to look after our emergency patients.”

The Royal Free Hospital spokesman said: “We have put a number of measures in place to ensure that patient safety is not compromised and to enable us to deliver safe services for patients during the strike action. All emergency services, including our A&E departments and urgent care centres, will run as normal.”

The dispute began after the government implied they would impose junior contract changes which would extend ‘basic’ working hours.

Following last month’s strikes, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt emphasised his desire to continue with negotiations.

He said: “The door is open. I think these are things we can sort out by talking and not by risking patient safety.”

But junior doctors working at the Whittington and Royal Free told the Ham&High they had felt cornered and vilified by government negotiations and had been left with no choice.

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