A Sussex MEP has pledged his support for a five-day junior doctors’ strike planned for later this month.
The British Medical Association said the junior doctors would be taking industrial action starting Monday September 12 unless the Government pulled plans to impose new contracts on them.
Keith Taylor, a Green MEP for the South East, accused Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt of ‘incompetence’ and pledged to ‘stand in solidarity’ with junior doctors.
But Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames said the BMA was the first trade union to call for strike action against a deal it ‘negotiated and pronounced a good one’.
Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: ‘This is not a situation junior doctors wanted to find themselves in. We want to resolve this dispute through talks, but in forcing through a contract that junior doctors have rejected and which they don’t believe is good for their patients or themselves, the Government has left them with no other choice.”
Key concerns raised by junior doctors include the impact that the contract will have on those working less-than full time, a majority of whom are women, and the impact it will have on junior doctors working the most weekends, typically in specialties where there is already a shortage of doctors.
But a Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst there are many pressures on the frontline, funding is at record levels, with the highest number of doctors employed in the history of the NHS.
“Co-operation not confrontation is the way forward to make sure patients get the best treatment and the NHS is there for people whenever they need it.”
Meanwhile Mr Taylor, who sits on the European Parliament’s Public Health committee, said: “That the BMA announcement comes just days after the government was forced to reveal its plans to shut down NHS services across England is a stark reminder of the perilous condition of our National Health Service after years of Tory mismanagement.”
What do you think of the junior doctors’ strike? Comment below or email the newsdesk.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.