Latest junior doctor strike in contract row

Junior Doctors on the picket line striking outside the Leeds General Infirmary. PIC: Tony Johnson

Junior Doctors on the picket line striking outside the Leeds General Infirmary. PIC: Tony Johnson

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Junior doctors across Yorkshire have walked out for the fourth time as a bitter dispute with the Government continues.

Hundreds of patients in the region have been affected by the 48-hour stoppage, which began on Wednesday morning. (April 6)

Outpatients appointments were most severely hit, while some routine operations were also rescheduled as a result of the strike over a new contract which the Government is forcing on junior doctors.

Nationally, more than 5,100 procedures and operations were postponed as a result of the action, which saw junior medics providing emergency care only.

At Leeds hospitals, a total of 600 outpatients appointments were set to be postponed, while 59 planned procedures or operations were being rescheduled. Phil Atkinson, a junior doctor in anaesthetics who works in West Yorkshire, said: “The Government are not listening to our concerns. That’s the sad thing.

“We feel the threat of this contract to patients and the future of the profession justifies the industrial action, though we would like to apologise to anyone who has had their care disrupted as a result.”

The BMA is launching a judicial review challenging the lawfulness of the imposition of the contract.

A Department of Health spokeswoman added that: “This strike is irresponsible and disproportionate, and, with almost 25,000 operations cancelled so far, it is patients who are suffering.

“If the BMA had agreed to negotiate on Saturday pay, as they promised to do through Acas in November, we’d have a negotiated agreement by now.”

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