A Carnforth GP says junior doctors have been left with no option but to strike in order to preserve the NHS for future generations.
Junior doctors in Lancaster and across England are due to take industrial action next week after talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS Employers failed to reach an agreement.
The BMA said the strike action comes after the government’s continued failure to address junior doctors’ concerns about the need for robust contractual safeguards on safe working, and proper recognition for those working unsocial hours.
It said that unless progress is made in these areas, the 24-hour action on Tuesday January 12, when junior doctors will provide emergency care only, will be followed by a second, 48-hour period of emergency care only.
This will begin on January 26 and a third day of action on February 10, will see a full withdrawal of junior doctors’ labour between 8am and 5pm.
Carnforth GP and BMA spokesman Dr David Wrigley said: “The strike has come about due to Jeremy Hunt forcing an unsafe and unfair contract on junior doctors. This is not about doctors wanting more pay.
“Jeremy Hunt wants doctors to work longer, more unsociable hours for less pay.
“That isn’t safe for patients or fair for doctors. No doctor wishes to strike but we have been left with no other option if we wish to preserve an NHS for the future.
“Hunt’s contract will demoralise doctors further and lead to an increased exodus of doctors going to Australia and New Zealand where they actually value the work doctors do.
“It is time this government listened to those who work in the NHS rather than pushing through their unpopular and unwanted policies.”
Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the Government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand.”
The trust employs 93 junior doctors, 58 at the RLI and 35 at Furness General Hospital.
David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is disappointing that the national pay negotiations have not been resolved, resulting in the announcement of the planned industrial action. As a Trust, we recognise and support an individual’s right to participate in industrial action and will ensure that any impact on our patients is minimised through the contingency plans that we have in place to deal with a range of disruptions.”