Demoralised junior doctors walk out of Whittington and Royal Free
- Credit: Archant
North London’s Junior Doctors went on strike for the third time yesterday, walking out of the Whittington and Royal Free hospitals for 48 hours.
The strike, which began at 8am, is the first of three more strikes announced by the British Medical Association (BMA) following the government’s decision to impose the contracts.
The BMA also announced they will be launching a judicial review against Jeremy Hunt “following the embarrassing revelation that the government appears to have failed to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to its decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England.”
A junior doctor at The Whittington Hospital said: “The imposition is a mistake. It has made my colleagues and I feel bullied and demeaned. The contract will worsen recruitment and retention in shortage specialities such as emergency medicine and general practice.”
Campaign group Camden Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) has released a statement backing junior doctors and accusing the government of lying.
Camden KONP chair Candy Udwin described the NHS as “facing a crisis of the government’s own making brought about by its stubborn refusal to adequately fund the NHS”
She added: “The government has misrepresented data and continues to lie about the seven-day NHS. The doctors are right in saying that the safeguards built into new contracts are inadequate. Striking junior doctors are defending a high quality NHS and they are in the front line of the fight to properly fund the health service.”
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The Chief executives of both The Royal Free Trust and The Whittington Trust spoke out against contract imposition when it was announced.
Whittington chief, Simon Pleydell, said: “It is immensely disappointing to see that national talks have failed. This is a bad outcome for all and is particularly damaging to the morale of a key group of staff who are essential to our workforce.”
Royal Free chief, David Sloman, said: “I am profoundly disappointed. My view is that the best way to reach resolution is negotiation.”
At a Royal Free Trust board meeting, Mr Sloman confirmed the trust will implement the imposed contracts but currently has “insufficient detail to decide how”.
The trust’s medical director, Professor Stephen Powis said: “Our approach will be to focus on improving the emergency care we provide over the weekends, but having the best possible care on weekends is not predominantly about junior doctors. David [Sloman] and myself would not accept an approach that meant we had to spread our staff too thinly.”
Two further dates of industrial action are planned on April 6 and April 26.