Newham’s junior doctors strike over contract dispute

Junior doctors are on strike at Newham University Hospital

Junior doctors are on strike at Newham University Hospital - Credit: Archant

Junior doctors at Newham University Hospital have joined in with a nationwide strike today.

The 48-hour walkout will see them provide emergency care only.

It is part of a long-running dispute between the British Medical Association and the government over a proposed new contract, which is set to be imposed in August.

The government wanted the Saturday day shift to be paid at a normal rate in return for a hike in basic pay.

The BMA rejected this and urged health secretary Jeremy Hunt to reduce the offer of basic pay and instead have better premium rates on Saturdays.

Under the new arrangements, Mr Hunt said no doctor working contracted hours would see a pay cut while too many night shifts and long shifts will be limited.

But 7am to 5pm on Saturdays will be regarded as a normal working day.

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A Department of Health spokesman said: “Patients have so far seen more than 19,000 operations cancelled as a result of the BMA’s irresponsible and unjustified industrial action.

“The new contract, 90% of which was agreed with the BMA and endorsed by senior NHS leaders, is a very good deal for doctors and the NHS.”

Johann Malawana, the BMA’s junior doctor chairman, said: “We deeply regret disruption to patients, and have given trusts as much notice as possible to plan ahead, but the Government has left junior doctors with no choice.

“Ministers have made it clear they intend to impose a contract that is unfair on junior doctors and could undermine the delivery of patient care in the long term.”

The NHS has issued advice to patients, saying that hospitals will contact them if a planned operation or appointment needs to be rescheduled as a result of the strike.

It added that GP practices will be open as normal and that you should still call 999 or go to an accident and emergency department for serious or life-threatening issues.

Further 48-hour walkouts are set to take place beginning on Wednesday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 26.