Pensioners in Brent air concerns as 'all out' strike by junior doctors takes place tomorrow
PUBLISHED: 16:41 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:06 25 April 2016
© Adam Tiernan Thomas
Pensioners in Brent fear the junior doctors' battle for fair contracts is becoming a "war of attrition" as an 'all out' strike at Northwick Park Hospital is due to take place tomorrow and on Wednesday.
Brent Pensioners Forum (BPF), a group of retired professionals, have voiced concerns over the fourth bout of industrial action as part of the ongoing dispute between the government and the British Medical Association (BMA).
The BMA claim new contracts imposed by the government will leave junior doctos subjected to pay cuts and changes to out of hours work.
From 8am until 5pm tomorrow and on Wednesday junior doctors across the country will withdraw all labour and provide no emergency care - a historical first.
Tom O’Callaghan, a member of BPF, said: “We are worried it’s becoming a war of attrition where both sides are entrenched with neither side moving. This will end in tears, both nationally and locally, at home and in the workplace.
Advice from health chiefs
Health bosses in Brent are urging patients to use the NHS ‘wisely’ during the junior doctors’ strike.
Residents are being reassured that while robust plans are in place to deal with any disruption during the two days of industrial action there could be pressure on the NHS.
They are advising residents to ensure medicine cabinets are well stocked with essentials such as ibuprofen, antacids, and bandages and any regular prescriptions they need have been filled.
Residents who do become ill during the strike are urged to call NHS 111 or consult their GP or local pharmacist first.
However those with serious or life-threatening emergencies should call 999 as usual or, if possible, make their own way to A&E
For updates about the industrial action visit www.nhs.uk/strike and www.staywellnwl.nhs.uk.
“We support the doctors, all the pensioners do, we have former doctors on board. We want the two sides to come back together and talk but we don’t know how they can do that without one side losing face.”
Two weeks ago, a 48-hour strike at the hospital in Watford Road, was supported by the cast of the medical comedy Green Wing.
The actors, including Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Grieg donned their scrubs at the picket line in solidarity with their dispute.
The award-winning series was filmed inside the hospital.
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “No junior doctor wants to take this action but we have been left with no choice. The government is trying to impose a contract that is unfair and could undermine the long term delivery of patient care. The fact that junior doctors have again turned out in their thousands demonstrates the ongoing anger and rejection of this contract imposition.
“It is not only doctors who oppose the government’s plans; patient groups, senior managers and the government’s own safety adviser have all raised questions about the government’s approach.
He added: “The government has admitted that the new contract must enable employers to roster doctors for less money across seven-days, but junior doctors already work seven days a week, around the clock under the existing contract.
“Devaluing the work we do is not the way to increase seven-day services. It will only serve to demotivate the current workforce and will risk doctors voting with their feet, which will impact patient care in the long term.
“Junior doctors deeply regret any disruption caused to patients and don’t want to escalate action any further but by continually ignoring our concerns, the government is leaving us with no other option.
“Any future action is wholly avoidable, but the government must get back around the negotiating table and end this dispute through talks.”
A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “We fully understand the concerns of parents in Brent. We have been trying to negotiate a settlement with the BMA for three years. The new contract for GPs means that junior doctors will have on average a 13.5 percent payrise. We urge the BMA to call off the strike as patients are clearly going to suffer.”