Vic appointments axed on strike day

Doctors' strike outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Doctors' strike outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Blackpool Victoria Hospital had to cancel 222 appointments as junior doctors staged a strike against the Government’s proposed new contracts.

Doctors stood on a picket line to highlight their fight against the Government.

The new contract would see junior doctors receive an 11 per cent rise in basic pay but extra pay for ‘unsocial’ hours would be cut. Currently, 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and the whole of Saturday and Sunday atract a premium rate of pay.

Under the new plans, a higher rate would run from 10pm to 7am Monday to Friday, and from 7pm on Saturday evenings, a concession on the previous 10pm.

One junior doctor told The Gazette: “While the 11 per cent rise sounds huge, the extra hours worked mean we would be facing a large pay cut.

“My working week could fall from a maximum of 91 hours to a maximum of 72 - often more than double the hours of other professions, but I could end up taking home far less pay.

“In other jobs, the more overtime you work, the more you are rewarded for your efforts. What they are doing is trying to make the extra hours the norm and that is not fair.

“It has a huge effect on family and social life.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has argued just one per cent of junior doctors would lose money in the deal - the very doctors already working too many hours.

Those striking said they would only provide emergency care from 8am yesterday, followed by another 48-hour stoppage from 8am on January 26.

Hospital bosses had hoped negotiations between the doctors and the Government would see the strike action avoided.”

Some 30 operations and five gastric procedures were also cancelled at the Vic.

A spokesman for Blackpool Victoria Hospital said: “New dates have been offered to patients.

“These cancellations were confirmed with patients in advance of today’s action. This has been necessary in order to base doctors on hospital wards.”

No other services were cancelled at the hospital and A&E was running as normal.