Young doctors’ strike threatens patient safety, say NHS hospital chiefs | Industrial action End-shutdown

Next week’s three-day strike by young doctors in England will threaten patient safety and exacerbate the NHS staffing crisis, hospital chiefs have warned.

They aired their fears hours after last-minute talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on Friday night failed to avert the walkout, which is due to start on Monday and continue until Sunday. Wednesday and will cause a massive outage. .

“Unfortunately, we are facing an escalation of strikes next week that will take disruption to the next level,” three organizations representing hospital heads said in a joint statement on Saturday.

“Local NHS leaders are doing everything they can to mitigate the impact, but are very concerned that this will pose a risk to the safety of some patients and significantly delay progress on key strategic priorities, including making up backlogs.” said NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation. and the Shelford Group, a group of leading teaching and research hospitals.

“We are also deeply concerned about the impact on the workforce,” they added. “Protracted disputes risk long-term damage to morale, retention and the relationship between staff and the service.”

The three organizations urged ministers and the BMA to start negotiations over the weekend that would call off the strike. “It is not too late for all parties to realize the damage a strike will cause and redouble their efforts to start negotiations and avoid a strike. Patients deserve no less,” they said.

The heads of the hospital consortiums have grave fears over the 72-hour strike by young doctors. They are all doctors in training and range from newly qualified to those who are highly experienced and just below consultant level.

The BMA and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA), who together represent some 61,000 young doctors, have coordinated their industry action campaigns to get them involved simultaneously on these three days to maximize their effectiveness.

They are seeking “full wage restoration” – a 26% wage increase to offset the erosion in real terms of their earnings they say they have experienced since 2008/09. They want the salary for doctors fresh out of medical school to be increased from £14 to £19 an hour.

Earlier, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, chief medical officer for England’s NHS, described his fears that the stoppage would cause far more appointments and outpatient operations to be postponed than have occurred as a result of any of the many strikes since December by nurses, ambulance personnel and physiotherapists.

Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trevedi, the co-chairs of the BMA’s young doctors committee, met with DHSC officials on Friday afternoon in a move the BMA hoped would lead to further proposals from the government and thus potentially leading to the suspension of their strike.

However, the BMA later said that “talks came to naught because public officials did not come close to any kind of viable offer” and that health secretary Steve Barclay did not attend.

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Laurenson and Trevedi said that at the meeting “we have been asked to call off the strikes, but there is nothing on the table in return: no credible offer, nothing to negotiate and no clear understanding of our demands, or what it has led us to feel.” that we have no alternative but to strike.”

They said they did not receive enough information from public officials to agree to the precondition the government has given to other public sector unions: cancel planned strikes before negotiations can begin.

The health unions agreed to that demand and spent several days last week negotiating with the DHSC to try to resolve their own wage dispute. Sources say the discussions so far have been productive and have led to progress, but more talks are needed before an agreement can be reached.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “We have invited the BMA to start formal discussions covering pay for this current and next fiscal year, with new investment in paying doctors and dentists in training.

“As with other healthcare unions, for talks to begin, all planned strikes must be called off with immediate effect.

“While the BMA has not yet accepted this offer, it remains on the table.”

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