A doctor holds a placard during a strike outside St Thomas’ hospital in central London, Britain 12 January. English doctors staged their first strike in 40 years on Tuesday over government plans to reform pay and conditions for working anti-social hours, in a move health chiefs have warned could put patients’ lives at risk. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Reuters: English doctors staged their first strike in 40 years on Tuesday (January 12) over government plans to reform pay and conditions for working anti-social hours, in a move health chiefs have warned could put patients’ lives at risk.
Junior doctors, or doctors in training who represent just over half of all doctors in the state-funded National Health Service (NHS), will deliver only emergency care for 24 hours from 0800 GMT.
The government expects some 4,000 non-emergency operations to be cancelled during the stoppage, the first industrial action by doctors since 1975.
Outside St Thomas’ hospital in central London which stands by the River Thames directly opposite the Houses of Parliament, a number of doctors and union staff held signs and staged a picket line by the hospital’s entrance.
Dr William Turner, an anaesthetics trainee at St Thomas’ said that the government would be directly responsible for any issues with patient care as a result of the industrial action.
“I genuinely think that any safety issue that arises from these contractual changes and even any safety issue that potentially arise from these strike issues lay very much at the government’s door,” he said. “No doctor is here lightheartedly. We all take, strike action, industrial action with a really heavy heart and we are all really disappointed it has come to this point. The BMA have tried for months now, especially over the last few weeks of ACAS negotiations to reach an agreement with the government, but they seem insistent to bring these changes through without listening to the serious concerns we continually keep raising with them,” he added.