STRIKING junior doctors at the Alexandra Hospital say patients’ lives and the own well being will be put at risk by the new centrally imposed Government contracts.
The medics, waving banners at the entrance to the Woodrow Drive hospital were on day two of a 48 hour walk out over the changes put forward by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
These changes include increasing the range of medical services available at the weekend and increasing basic pay at the cost of reducing payments for working unsocial hours.
However the doctors, members of the British Medical Association say that rostering them to do more at the weekend will create more gaps in cover throughout the week.
“There are already gaps in the rota and if you extend the service by a couple of days there will inevitably be more gaps,” said Dr George Naylor.
“The cap on locum pay at this Trust (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) has already reduced the amount of cover we have.”
Junior doctors already work weekends, but the new contract will see them working more of them for less pay, and with gaps in the rota, stress levels they say will rocket.
“We’re struggling with just the five day elective service at the moment,” said medical registrar Amy Davies, one of the senior ‘junior’ doctors.
“They are now trying to make it so we cover seven days and we simply do not have the sums or the staff and as a profession we are at breaking point.
“We will end up losing our best doctors because of this.”
Senior House Officer Dr Tom Simmonds added: “We’re on strike because we do not agree with the imposition of this contract. We do not believe that its safe for us or the patients and to flatly impose it on us without negotiation is unfair.”
He added that although the strike was, for the first time, affecting Accident & Emergency, senior consultants had stepped in to provide cover.”