Patients face fresh delays as junior doctors stage new strike in local hospitals

Junior doctors on a picket line during continued pay dispute Pic: Owen Humphreys

NHS hospitals across the Eastlondonlines borough were predicted to be “busier than usual” as junior doctors staged a new five day strike as part of their long running campaign for better wages.

The action began on Saturday morning and will continue until midnight on Wednesday, February 28.

Junior doctors make up around half of all NHS doctors, meaning that this strike will cause a reduction in staffing, potentially impacting waiting times as doctors prioritise those seeking urgent and emergency care.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said on their X, feed that during the strike their hospitals will be busier than usual. The Trust also encourages those experiencing non-life-threatening emergencies to contact alternative avenues instead of visiting the A&E.

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, similarly released a statement emphasising that senior doctors and nurses were to continue to work on these strike days but that emergency care and acute services will be prioritised.

Some appointments may be cancelled due to insufficient staffing, but hospitals across England inform the public that patients will be contacted if their appointment needs to be rescheduled and to come in as planned if they are not contacted.

Industrial action has been taking place within the NHS for over a year, with over 1.3 million appointments being impacted. Conflict continues between NHS Trade Unions and the Government. This dispute in pay represents the ongoing struggle for junior doctors to attain their desired salaries.

Deputy Council Chair of The British Medical Association (BMA), Emma Runswick, told the BBC in an interview: “What we are asking for is that junior doctors currently being paid around 15 pounds an hour to be paid around 20 pounds an hour, for the reversal of pay cuts, real terms pay cuts, that we’ve had since 2008. We are happy to do that in several steps, in creative ways. We spend a long time scoping with the Government and technicians and the various teams and they won’t discuss that at all really with us. It’s not an unreasonable position to want the reversal of pay cuts, to want a fix to the staffing crisis, to want not another pay cut, to want not another real term pay cut, and we are a completely reasonable negotiating party.”

Both, the British Medical Association and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association announced they would be taking part in this current four-to-five-day strike. Both Associations say that junior doctors will not be attending their shifts and there will be a full walk-out during these days.

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