Junior doctors and supporters picketed outside Scarborough Hospital today united with the national strike against the government’s new contracts.
Between 20 and 30 junior doctors gathered on Scalby Road down from the hospital to voice their concerns with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to introduce a “truly seven-day NHS”.
He plans to cut the number of hours on a weekend that junior doctors can claim extra pay.
Natalie Barclay-Klingle, leading the junior doctors, said: “It’s not about the money. Yes there are changes in pay, but actually what we are turning round and saying is that they are removing the safe guards against overworking us.”
The picket line was outside the hospital between 8am and noon before they moved to Scarborough town for a “meet the doctor” event.
“We had a mixed reaction to it. Lots of people were saying they agreed, but some did not see why we we’re striking and believe we are paid enough,” she added.
Speaking to the public, striking junior doctors tried to put across their concerns over having someone who is in charge of making medical decisions in the fifteenth hour of their shift.
NHS statistics show that 61 per cent of junior doctors took part in the 24 hour strike.
Emergency care was still covered as usual, but thousands of appointments have been cancelled across the country.
More than 150 picket lines and “meet the doctor” events have been held nationally.
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctors committee chairman, said: “Today’s action – one that the BMA has long sought to avoid – is a result of a fundamental breakdown in trust with junior doctors, for which the government is directly responsible.
“This has only been made worse by yesterday’s last minute, inept and heavy-handed attempts to bully junior doctors lawfully taking industrial action back into work.
“We deeply regret the level of disruption caused, but this is a fight for the long term safety of patients and junior doctors’ working lives.
“The biggest threat to patient care is the government’s insistence on removing safeguards which prevent junior doctors from being forced to work dangerously long hours without breaks, with patients facing the prospect of being treated by exhausted doctors.
“We want a contract that is safe for patients, fair for juniors and good for the NHS.”