Junior doctors prepare to strike again

PICKET LINE: Junior doctors at Tunbridge Wells Hospital

Junior doctors in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust and across the country are preparing for a fresh round of strikes after failed talks with Health Secretary Victoria Atkins.

The strikes follow what the striking staff see as a steep decline in junior doctors’ pay and conditions since 2008.

Explaining why junior doctors are planning to strike Dr Daniel Zahedi, BMA South-Thames regional junior doctors committee co-chair, said:

“It is still not too late to avoid the strike action at this trust, or indeed any other in England. Junior doctors don’t want to be striking and would much rather be properly paid and working in a properly staffed health service.

“But while we lose doctors to overseas and other industries, the Government continues to progress talks to end the dispute at a glacial speed,” Dr Zahedi added.

“It was almost three weeks after the last round of strikes before we were offered a meeting with a minister. When we did it wasn’t with the Health Secretary, and there was no offer on the table. We have made every effort to work with the Government in finding a fair solution to this dispute whilst trying to avoid strike action, and we remain willing to carry on talking and to cancel the forthcoming strikes if significant progress is made and a credible offer is put forward.”

Responding to the strikes a spokesperson for NHS Kent and Medway said the organisation is working with its partners to identify how the strikes may impact patient safety and care, saying it is working hard to keep services safe and minimise disruptions despite the scheduled industrial action.

“This work, alongside lessons learnt from previous industrial action, will be used to keep services as safe as possible and minimise disruption to people’s care. Everyone in Kent and Medway can help make sure those who need urgent care are able to access it during the strikes by choosing wisely. Please use 111 online, or visit stopthinkchoose.co.uk to find the right service for you,” the spokesperson added.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has released a statement calling on staff to cancel their action and come back to the table to find a way forward.

For the latest information call 01634 335 095 or visit: kentandmedway.icb.nhs.uk

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