Yorkshire junior doctors in call for talks after full walk-out

A junior doctor picketing in Leeds
A junior doctor picketing in Leeds
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Junior doctors in Yorkshire have called for the Government to resume “reasonable” talks after their all-out strike ended.

The second day of the walk-out, the first in the history of the NHS, saw thousands of medics across the country withdraw all care in the latest chapter of a bitter row over a new contract.

Consultants were drafted in to provide cover in hospitals, though more than 125,000 appointments and operations have been cancelled and will need to be rearranged as a result of the latest strike.

Figures compiled by NHS England suggest that - for a second day - 78 per cent of junior doctors who were due to be working did not report for duty.

Around 80 per cent of England’s 54,000 junior doctors are members of the British Medical Association (BMA).

Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England, said: “We’re not going to pretend the last two days have been easy but the NHS has remained open for business for patients. We ask the public to continue to use it wisely while the action is ongoing.

“The health service has coped admirably to date thanks to extensive planning and the exhaustive efforts of other staff.

“However the strike has undoubtedly increased pressure on a service already facing increasing demand and has led to the highly regrettable cancellation of needed care for well over 100,000 patients.”

The head of the BMA’s junior doctors’ committee, Johann Malawana, again called for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to lift his threat to impose the new contract on doctors.

He tweeted: “Second day of this sad episode in NHS history. Why won’t government set aside imposition & talk?”

In Yorkshire, hundreds of junior doctors took to picket lines and rallies, including one outside Sheffield City Hall.

Protesting medics included Naadir Ansari, who said: “The contract that is going to be imposed is a dangerous one.

“It’s something I never thought I would do by going on strike, I can’t believe it’s got to this point.

“Their own manifesto even says that doctors and nurses know what’s best for the NHS and that message isn’t coming through.

“Mr Hunt could end this right now and come back to the negotiating table.”

At Leeds hospitals, 2,300 outpatients appointments, 73 inpatient operations and 28 day cases were postponed over the two strike days, which saw hundreds of medics picketing outside city hospitals.

Phil Atkinson, a junior doctor from Bramhope who works in anaesthetics, said: “The turnout has been incredible.

“What we want now is to have a conversation with the Government that’s fair and frank and reasonable instead of talking about this in ridiculous politicised terms.

“We want to put aside politics when we believe there’s something far more important at stake – the care and safety of patients. We really want the Government to come and speak to us and be reasonable.”

Mr Hunt this week said the BMA had not been prepared to compromise.

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