Hundreds of junior doctors went on strike at hospitals in the ELL area today (April 26).
The strikes have returned in response to government plans to change doctors’ contracts.
Picket lines were set up at Homerton University Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, Croydon University Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham.
Starting at 8am the strikes continued up until 5pm today, all participating doctors officially withdrew from care, including A&E services.
NHS England said that nationally, 21,608 junior doctors failed to report for duty today.
Barts Health NHS Trust have also advised the public not to use A&E departments during the strike unless in need of real emergency care.
The British Medical Association representing junior doctors, said: “This is a deeply regrettable disruption, however with the government pressing ahead with the contract, there is no other course of action.”
The strike is in response to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to impose new contracts on junior doctors, which junior doctors have claimed, will increase working hours for less pay. Each side blames the other for failure to reach a compromise.
The BMA told ELL that the strike was a last resort, and recommended patients contact their local hospitals for information on the day.
As a result hospitals have announced plans to impact of the strike, including bolstering GP and clinic services, which will have extra cover for the duration.
“The NHS exists to care for and treat patients and it is with enormous regret that we find patients put in this position” said Dr Anne Rainsberry, National Incident Director for NHS England. “The NHS has been pulling out all the stops to minimise the risks to the quality and safety of care but this is an unprecedented situation during a time of heightened risk.”
During the strikes, the NHS has recommended that people who are unwell seek advice by calling NHS 111, contacting their GP or visiting a local pharmacist.
Video credits: Matilda Kenwood & Anna Soerensen