Junior Doctors Out – Again
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Junior Doctors in Winchester have walked out again in protest over contracts that are being imposed on them – this time for 48 hours – and they have again gathered outside the Royal Hampshire County Hospital to let their feelings be known – story by Elektra Theophanous with images by Rachel Gover.
More than 5,000 operations and procedures across the country have had to be postponed because of today’s industrial action. More to the point, there seems to be no contact whatsoever between the British Medical Association and the Government to try to resolve the row. The Government is facing a second legal challenge to try to stop the new contracts being imposed.
Christina Baker works as an obstetrician at the hospital and spoke to Winchester Today about her frustration. “We know that people are sick seven days a week, but we already provide that care. It seems very disingenuous for the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to confuse our contracts with the 7-day NHS service we are already providing.
“I think people who work here are cross and angry with these contracts, especially women. In my department, we are already staffed at 82% women, and the Royal College has told us that this contract will be detrimental to women. We are already stretched very thin, and this is going to stretch the service even thinner by trying to include Saturday as a normal working day of the week. You have to bring in the doctors from another day of the week when we don’t have enough people. We are the breaking point of being unsafe.
“It’s very difficult actually to stand out here when there are patients inside the hospital who need to see us… and I can assure everyone that emergency care is being provided today and all the women inside who are having their babies are safe… we’re really sorry about all this, and I just hope that the public can understand the bigger picture. We are so worried about patient safety and we cannot afford not to be here and tell Jeremy Hunt how we feel about this.”
Junior Doctors Out Again – Contingency Plans For Winchester
Mary Edwards is chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and told Winchester Today that contingency plans had been put into place: “We have planned ahead to minimise disruption to our services and to ensure our patients are safe and well cared for.
“Patients whose appointments are affected by the strike have been contacted in advance. We have postponed a handful of appointments, and many of those patients have been offered alternative appointments and booked in for another time.
“All patients who are not contacted by the hospital should attend their appointment as planned. Patients can call the telephone number on their appointment letter if they have any concerns.”