A hospital in West Bromwich has declared a ‘major incident’ and told its striking junior doctors to leave the picket lines.
The demand has sparked a war of words with the doctors’ union which has advised its members to ignore the plea to go back to work at Sandwell Hospital.
Hospital chiefs claimed an unprecedented rise in the number of patients at the hospital had forced them to declare a Level 4 major incident during the 24-hour walkout today.
However the doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) accused hospitals of “moving the goalposts” by declaring spurious incidents to force striking medics back into their posts.
Legal advice is being to staff given by the union, which is telling doctors to only return to the wards if a full agreed “escalation” process has been followed.
BMA chiefs previously claimed that hospitals would “move” the goalposts by declaring emergencies to force doctors off the picket lines.
Doctors on a Facebook forum voiced their fury at the announcement, claiming it could be against NHS rules.
One slammed the decision to declare a high-level incident, writing: “Ongoing high capacity usually represents the lowest category of major incident - an internal one. It should mean most to all elective operations including day cases are cancelled.”