‘Political ball’ doctors defend strike proposal

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Medical staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have backed a proposed strike by doctors up to consultant level.

A row broke out after the Government offered junior doctors a new contract, saying the current arrangements – introduced in the 1990s – are ‘outdated’ and ‘unfair’.

The NHS runs on the goodwill of nurses and doctors. If everyone clocked out at 5pm, patient safety would be in a calamitous condition

The change would see juniors paid more outside of 7am to 10pm from Monday to Saturday, rather than the 7am to 7pm from Monday to Friday.

The British Medical Association said this would involve pay cuts of up to 30 per cent and is now balloting its members over potential industrial action.

Eye surgeon Dr Hadi Ziaei backed any strike and said: “The NHS runs on the goodwill of nurses and doctors. If everyone clocked out at 5pm, patient safety would be in a calamitous condition.”

Trainee surgeon Katherine Conroy added: “Being a ‘junior’ doctor today – up to the level of a consultant – is a very different job to the one I signed up to when I started medical school 12 years ago.

“The NHS has been used as a political football by successive governments and everyone from porters to nurses and doctors have felt the effects.

“We have had to fight tooth and nail for training opportunities and pay thousands of pounds in a way our predecessors never did.”

A Department for Health spokesman said: “Junior doctors work incredibly hard and, as we have consistently said, we want to reward them fairly while ensuring that patients get proper seven-day care. We have already given absolute assurances that we are not going to save a penny from the junior doctors’ paybill, and we will reduce the number of hours doctors are asked to work.”