Junior doctors campaign against proposed contract changes

Junior doctors across the region are going on strike as part of an ongoing row with the government over changes to contracts.

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North East Junior Doctors on 48-hour strike

Thousands of junior doctors have gone on strike yet again, this time for 48 hours.

It's the longest strike so far lasting until Friday morning.

The ongoing row with the government is about changes to junior doctors' contracts.

While A and E isn't affected, many operations and outpatients appointments across the North East have had to be cancelled.

We spent the day with Peter Campbell, a junior doctor, who says they have no option but to strike.

Watch the report from our correspondent Frances Read:

The Department of Health says no doctor working contracted hours will receive a pay cut under the new contracts.

Meanwhile NHS England says it is doing everything possible to ensure safe emergency care is being provided and to minimise the impact of the latest industrial action.

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Junior doctor contract talks reach 'end of the road'

A picket line outside Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol. Credit: PA

New contracts could be imposed on junior doctors by the Health Secretary after union leaders rejected his "best and final offer".

The Government's chief negotiator, Sir David Dalton, had warned talks were at "the end of the road" should the British Medical Association not endorse his latest offer by Wednesday afternoon.

Instead the BMA again called on the Health Secretary to accept its own proposed pay model and withdraw his threat to force through changes, even though the Government has refused to "remove that from the table".

A 24-hour strike by medics will end at 8am today.

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Shadow health secretary: Strike is 'deeply disappointing'

Heidi Alexander Credit: PA

The shadow health secretary has urged Jeremy Hunt to negotiate with junior doctors and find a resolution to the dispute.

Heidi Alexander said the industrial action is "deeply disappointing" and the "sad truth is that it didn't have to come to this".

Today's industrial action is deeply disappointing, particularly for the patients who have had hospital treatment delayed because of it.

The sad truth is that it didn't have to come to this. Jeremy Hunt's handling of these negotiations has been a complete and utter shambles.

His comments over the past few weeks and months have caused widespread anger among junior doctors and left staff morale at rock bottom. We urgently need to see a resolution to this dispute, which doesn't involve imposing a new contract.

Jeremy Hunt needs to stop hiding behind his desk in the Department of Health and get back round the negotiating table.

– Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander

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Junior doctors told what to do in case of major emergency

Johann Malawana, chair of Junior Doctors Committee

Junior doctors have been told what to do if a trust declares a major emergency during the strike.

During the last junior doctors' strike, Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich declared a level 4 incident and told its junior doctors they must attend work.

As you know when we last took industrial action there was some confusion about when trusts could call junior doctors back into work.

In addition to the legal advice we took at that time we now have a joint letter signed by Sir Bruce Keogh of NHS England and the BMA's Mark Porter setting out the protocol should a major unpredictable incident occur.

– Johann Malawana, chair of Junior Doctors Committee

According to the letter, junior doctors can be requested to work if:

  • There is both "exception and sustained deterioration in performance such as to endanger patient safety and cannot be managed through the deployment of the hospital’s senior hospital doctors and the junior doctors providing emergency care".
  • The Trust must make a formal request to NHS England, who will then contact the BMA.
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NHS 'doing everything possible' to reduce impact of strike

Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England Credit: ITV News

The NHS is "doing everything possible to minimise the impact" of the junior doctors' strike, the national incident director for the NHS said.

The NHS is doing everything possible to minimise the impact of this regrettable strike which will delay care for thousands of patients at a time of year when service pressures across the health service are already at their highest.

We will monitor the situation across the country to ensure plans are in place, and people are ready to respond to any significant increases in pressure in any region over the period of this strike.

– Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England

She said the NHS "anticipates around 2,800 operations will be cancelled".

She added: "To put that into context - on an average day the NHS does 31,000 operations so the vast majority will go ahead."

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