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Bexley junior doctors hold strike today over proposed contracts

PUBLISHED: 17:06 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:06 12 January 2016

Junior doctors strike in Sidcup

Junior doctors strike in Sidcup

Archant

This is the first time such industrial action has been called in for over 40 years

Junior doctors in Bexley this morning took part in a nationwide strike over proposed new contracts.

The doctors claim that the new contracts put forward by health secretary Jeremy Hunt will mean they are working more antisocial hours for less pay, and will mean less time is provided for research on key areas such as cancer or dementia.

This is the first time such industrial action has been called in for over 40 years and, despite the action, there are still junior doctors providing emergency care at each and every hospital.

Dr Jacob Bird, a 34-year-old father of one who appeared on the picket line at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, said: “We have gathered because we are concerned about the way the government has treated negotiations about safeguarding doctors from unsafe working hours.

“These are being taken away and we’re worried it’s a return to the bad old days of the 80s and 90s of doctors working inordinate hours.

“We didn’t want to take this kind of action but our hand has been forced.”

Others, however, are not convinced that the trusts can sufficiently cover the absence of the junior doctors today.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The BMA should call off this dangerous strike and return to the negotiating table before patients suffer, not least because they insist that patient safety is their paramount concern.

“The current contract is a shambles, making costs unpredictable for the NHS, encouraging doctors to under-report hours and allowing them to work dangerous shift patterns.

“The proposed contract may not be perfect, but it represents a significant improvement for both patients and the NHS.”

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