JUNIOR doctors are on strike today over proposed changes to their contract by government.
Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) at Solihull’s hospitals are joining those across the country to walk out in opposition of a contract which is being pushed through by the Department of Health.
Junior doctors argue the the changes will force them to work longer hours with no extra pay and potentially put patients’ lives at risk.
Starting at 8am this morning (January 12), they will only provide emergency care for 24 hours – causing 16 day cases, 17 inpatient and 235 outpatient appointments and operations at Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals to be postponed.
Junior doctors’ previously planned to walk out last month, but delayed the strike while talks – which failed to reach a breakthrough – took place.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of public sector union, Unison, said: “An NHS where the same high quality care is provided, regardless of the time of day or the day of the week, will not come cheap. But Jeremy Hunt thinks he can offer more to patients by paying dedicated healthcare professionals much less.
“Other NHS staff fear that the dispute with junior doctors could be the dry run for a much bigger confrontation. They suspect ministers also want to axe the unsocial hours payments that they get for working nights and weekends.
“Working additional night and weekend shifts has helped many health staff survive the government’s harsh and ongoing pay freeze. That’s why so many of them across England will be joining picket lines during their breaks and lunchtimes tomorrow to show the health secretary that, while everyone wants to see a seven day NHS, his approach to achieving it is completely wrong.”
A spokesperson for the Heart of England NHS Trust which runs , said wherever possible patient’s care would not be disrupted.
They added: “All emergency services including A&E and emergency surgery services will be unaffected.
“Unless you have been contacted directly advising you of a cancellation, please attend your procedure or appointment as planned.”
An additional strike where junior doctors will only offer emergency care will take place between Tuesday, January 26 and Thursday, January 28.
There will also be a full walkout between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.