The long-running dispute between junior doctors and the government shows no sign of ending, with further strikes at Lincolnshire’s hospitals planned for the next two months.
Three strikes across a total of six days have been announced by the British Medical Association (BMA) as it attempts to pressurise Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt into backing down over his attempts to impose new contracts on junior doctors.
The three strikes planned for March and April will each last 48 hours, double the duration of the previous industrial action held earlier this year.
The industrial action dates are:
- 8am on Wednesday, March 9 to 8am on Friday, March 11
- 8am on Wednesday, April 6 to 8am on Friday, April 8
- 8am on Tuesday, April 26 to 8am on Thursday, April 28
As with the other protests, doctors will only provide emergency care.
The first strike on Tuesday, January 12, saw support and fury expressed by passionate Lincoln residents at the first walk out in over 40 years.
However, shortly after the second strike, the government announced it would impose the new contract on junior doctors.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said: “This is yet another example of the incompetence which the government has demonstrated throughout its handling of the dispute.
“Imposing this contract will seriously undermine the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain junior doctors in areas of medicine with the most unsocial areas, where there are already staffing shortages.
“The government must listen to the chorus of concern coming from all quarters and reconsider this disastrous approach.”
However, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “This disruption to patient care is unnecessary. I strongly believe that the final contract is safe, fair and reasonable.
“For the sake of the NHS, and patients I urge all junior doctors to take a look at the contract in detail before taking part in any future action.”
A Department of Health spokesperson added: “Further strike action is completely unnecessary and will mean tens of thousands more patients face cancelled operations – over a contract that was 90% agreed with the BMA and which senior NHS leaders including Simon Stevens have endorsed as fair and safe.
“The new contract will mean an average 13.5% basic pay rise, and will bring down the maximum number of hours doctors can work.
“We urge junior doctors to look at the detail of the contract and the clear benefits it brings.”