Strike four: Lancaster junior doctors protest over unfair contracts

Junior doctors on strike outside the RLI earlier this year.
Junior doctors on strike outside the RLI earlier this year.
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Junior doctors in Lancaster are taking strike action for the fourth time in protest over “unfair” new 
government contracts.

Staff at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary went on strike at 8am on Wednesday April 6 for 48 hours until 8am on Friday April 8.

University Hospitals of Morecambe BayTrust (UHMBT) said that across the trust 145 outpatient appointments or non-emergency procedures have been cancelled.

Emergency cover is being provided, but an 18-hour strike planned for later this month will see a complete withdrawal of labour by junior doctors.

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “We deeply regret any disruption this action will cause to patients, but it is because we believe this contract would be bad for the delivery of patient care in the long term that we are taking this action.

“By imposing a contract that junior doctors have no confidence in and refusing to re-enter talks with the BMA, the government has left us with no choice.

“We want a contract that is fair for all junior doctors – not one of which the government has admitted will disadvantage women – and ensures that they feel valued and motivated so that the NHS can retain the GPs and hospital doctors of the future.

“By pursuing its current course, the government risks alienating a generation of doctors.”

David Wilkinson, director of workforce and organisational development at the trust, said: “The Trust supports an individual’s right to take industrial action and has tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action.

“As this is a 48-hour strike it has been more challenging. However, knowing the strike dates in advance, we have been able to plan for accommodating this type of action.

“If patients have had their appointment or surgery cancelled they will have been contacted in advance directly by the Trust. If patients have not heard otherwise they should attend UHMBT as planned.

“We’d also like to remind people that there are daily pressures on our Emergency departments. Where possible, people should contact their GP, seek advice from their local pharmacist, call NHS111 or consult the NHS Choices website.”

The next strike action is due to take place between 8am and 5pm on April 26 and April 27 (a total of 18 hours) where no emergency care will be provided.