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Junior doctors’ strike goes ahead


Junior doctors in the UK are taking part in a 24-hour walkout over a dispute surrounding new contracts proposed by the government. 4,000 routine operations and tests have been cancelled, with doctors only providing emergency care during the strikes.

Over 50,000 doctors are taking part in the strike today, after a three-day strike in December was called off. Today’s industrial action is the first doctor’s strike in 40 years.

A spokeperson from the British Medical Association (BMA) explained: “No doctor takes industrial action lightly and we regret the disruption it will cause. The biggest threat to patient care is the government’s insistence on removing safeguards which prevent junior doctors from being forced to work dangerously long hours without breaks, with patients facing the prospect of being treated by exhausted doctors.

“The government is threatening to impose contracts in which junior doctors have no confidence and which represents the first step in a wholesale attack on all NHS staff at night and over weekends. We want a contract that is safe for patients, fair for juniors and good for the NHS.”

Of the members balloted from the BMA, 98% voted in favour of today’s strikes.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patient’s Association, says: “It is extremely regrettable that despite weeks of negotiations, no agreement has been found to prevent industrial action by junior doctors taking place.

“Achieving a solution for the benefit of patients should have been the priority for the Department of Health and the British Medical Association (BMA) from the outset. This decision will cause a great deal of distress for many patients, who continue to be caught in the middle of this dispute.”

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