Politicians in Chad’s circulation area have divided along party lines when commenting on the planned strike by junior doctors at King’s Mill Hospital and Mansfield Community Hospital tomorrow (Tuesday December 1).
Doctors are set to take action on three days over pay and working conditions, providing emergency-only care for 24 hours from 8am on Tuesday over planned new pay and working conditions being implemented by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both sites, currently employs 202 junior doctors, of which 28 will be working in A&E throughout tomorrow. The remainder are expected to man picket lines at King’s Mill and Mansfield Community Hospital. If the industrial action continues to the second and third strike days, it is expected that all 200-plus junior doctors will walk out at King’s Mill.
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, whose constituency covers King’s Mill told Chad: “This is the first time in 40 years that junior doctors have voted to take such significant industrial action – and Jeremy Hunt needs to take full responsibility for that.
“The truth is that tomorrow’s industrial action could have been avoided had Jeremy Hunt responded to Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary’s proposal for ACAS involvement earlier. It took him a week after she made the request to accept it and that didn’t leave enough time for the sufficient progress to be made to avoid the industrial action.
“If any patient has their operation cancelled, or appointment postponed tomorrow then let’s be clear there is only one person to blame and that’s the Health Secretary.”
Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale echoes her views.
He said: “I support the doctors in their struggle - the amount of hours they are working as abysmal and they get very little recompense. “I have been involved with the NHS for many years and I have never seen them forced into indistrial action before. “They deserve much better treatment than they are getting.” The BMA and health officials have been locked in talks with conciliation service Acas since Thursday, with behind the scene discussions running over the weekend in a frantic bid to make progress.
But a 24-hour hour strike is due to start at 8am on Tuesday
Newark and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer claimed that junior doctors were being duped by the BMA.
He said: “It does appear that a lot of Doctors are being misled here by the BMA. The Government has given assurances that no doctor working a legal number of hours will lose out, and is offering an 11 per cent rise in basic pay and improved pensions too, whilst reducing the amount of hours they work to a safe level to improve patient care.
“How many people in other professions would love to be in that situation? Yet doctors are going to strike. Obviously they are intelligent people, so it can only be because they have been misled and misinformed about the facts.”