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Junior doctors’ strike causes disruption at hospitals in England

Junior doctors’ strike causes disruption at hospitals in England

LONDON: Tens of thousands of junior doctors went on strike in England on Tuesday, causing major disruption to hospitals in the first walkout of its kind for 40 years.

They were providing only emergency cover during a 24-hour walkout which started at 0800 GMT, meaning that several thousand routine operations, appointments and tests were cancelled.

The strike is over a new type of contract which the government says will improve healthcare at night and at weekends but doctors say will drastically reduce their pay.

Many doctors also claim that Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is not providing enough resources for the widely cherished, state-run National Health Service (NHS), founded by a socialist government in 1948 to provide free care.

“The new contract is not fair, it’s not safe and from the beginning, we as a profession have been bullied, intimidated and threatened by the Department of Health,” said Florence Dalton, 29, a psychiatrist picketing at St Pancras hospital in central London.

She added that many workers in the state-run health service felt “exhausted, overstretched and undervalued”. “Staff are already leaving in their droves,” she said. “Fewer and fewer people are coming into the profession. It makes me so angry.”

At St Thomas’s Hospital in south London, another junior doctor, Paul Robinson, said: “It’s a great shame the government has managed to alienate so many doctors.

“We’re not radicals — we are ordinary, smart, working, caring individuals and we’re worried about the NHS.” Doctors on several picket lines in Lo ndon were joined by a choir of NHS staff who took this year’s Christmas number one spot in Britain’s pop charts ahead of Justin Bieber with a charity single.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2016

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