Junior doctors at Northwick Park and Central Middlesex hospitals strike for a second time

Junior doctors out on their second strike at Northwick Park Hospital have vowed to keep fighting in order to keep patients safe.

Junior Doctors Protest at Northwick Park Hospital. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

Junior Doctors Protest at Northwick Park Hospital. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas - Credit: Archant

Operations were cancelled as doctors at the hospital in Watford Road, staged the 24-hour walk-out over their pay and conditions.

Junior doctors at Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal, are also striking.

Talks between the Department of Health and the British Medical Association reached deadlock over a new contract which would re-define anti-social hours and make it cheaper for hospitals to roster doctors on weekends and evenings.

Public polls have put the government to blame for the disturbance to services.

Dr Emma Carrington, surgical trainee doctor at Northwick Park, said she was feeling the tide of public support.

She said: "People realise it's the government prolonging the problem. We're obviously very disappointed to have a strike but it's important in the long term - we want an NHS that's going to flourish, provide the best possible service and you can't do that with overworked tired staff who don't have any quality of life.

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"We feel insulted that the health secretary is not listening to 54,000 people who are telling him that it's just too much for them. I feel really let down and I'm starting to question whether he has the ability to do his job properly. He clearly doesn't understand what it's like to work on the front line of the NHS.

"We are already providing a seven day NHS but it's important to have work life balance. Doctors burn out. We're telling him this contract is unsafe and if he doesn't believe us then he's got a fight on his hands and he's picked a fight with the wrong 54,000 people because we're not just going to roll over, we're not the kind of people who give up. We're the people who fight for the lives of your families, do you think we'll give up about this? Of course we're not."

Currently, 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and the whole of Saturday and Sunday attract a premium rate of pay.

In a new offer from the government, dated January 16, a premium rate of pay could kick in from 5pm on Saturdays rather than 7pm.

Furthermore, premium pay could start at 9pm Monday to Friday rather than the original offer of 10pm.

A spokesman for the Department of Health, said: "This strike is completely unnecessary. It is very disappointing that tens of thousands of patients and NHS staff have been inconvenienced by the BMA.

We have now agreed the vast majority of the contract detail with the BMA but it's a great shame they have broken the agreement we made at ACAS to discuss the outstanding issue of Saturday working and pay for unsocial hours."