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  1. ITV Report

Cumbria's junior doctors join 48-hour walkout

Picket line at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary Photo: ITV Border

Junior doctors in Cumbria are on strike today as part of a long-running dispute with the Government over weekend working.

They joined thousands of colleagues across England in a 48-hour walkout that began at 8am this morning.

No operations are expected to be cancelled at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary or the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven but NHS bosses are warning some appointments may be affected.

In south Cumbria, the NHS trust says it has contacted patients who will be affected.

Picket line at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary Credit: ITV Border

"We're out here today because we fear that the new contract which the Government is imposing upon us will not be safe for us or our patients in the future so we're taking action now to stop patients potentially coming to greater harm in the long run.

"In Cumbria here at the Cumberland Infirmary there is only about 75 per cent of their substantive posts filled on the current contracts and yet when it comes to August and the new contract comes in and Scotland won't be imposing the new contract you will be working fewer hours in Scotland, being more appreciated for your work, you will feel safer for you and your patients and arguably you'll be paid a bit more."

– Dr Anthony Starr, Carlisle junior doctor
Picket line at Lancaster Royal Infirmary Credit: ITV Border

The current strike is the third walkout called by the British Medical Association in its row with the Government.

Under the new contracts there would be changes to unsocial hours payments and working hours to ensure more junior doctors are available at weekends. The Government say changes are needed to help the NHS improve care at weekends and create a fully seven-day service.