A friend of mine commented that this today was the first time in the decades she’d been in this country that she couldn’t get a same-day or next-day doctor’s appointment. What she probably does not know is that the whole world has gone to hell in a hand basket as doctors strike nationwide for the second time this year.
The dispute between ministers, the NHS and the junior doctors seem to be principally about new contracts being imposed on the doctors; the key sticking point being payment for working on Saturdays.
According to the BBC:
- The British Medical Association (BMA) wants the whole day to attract an unsociable hours premium, but ministers say the hours between 07:00 and 17:00 should be paid at the basic rate
- The BMA proposed accepting half of the 11% basic pay rise offered by the government in return for retaining extra payments for working Saturdays, but the move was rejected
- Labour has written to Mr Hunt asking if he personally blocked that offer
- The government says change is needed to ensure a genuinely 24/7 NHS
- A new poll by Ipsos MORI shows two-thirds of the public support junior doctors – the same as it was ahead of the first strike, despite 10% of operations having to be cancelled as a result of staff shortage.
During today’s doctors strike, junior doctors once again provided emergency cover, while consultants were working in hospitals and GPs in the community.
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