Striking junior doctors in Slough have warned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt they ‘owe it to their profession’ to keep fighting a proposed new contract.
Doctors gathered on the picket line outside Wexham Park Hospital today (Tuesday) as they started a 48-hour strike which will see them withdraw routine and emergency care.
Services including A&E and intensive care will be unstaffed by the striking junior doctors from 8am to 5pm today and tomorrow (Wednesday).
Foaz Mohamed, 27, who has been working as a junior doctor at Wexham Park Hospital since August, told the Express on the picket line that the decision to strike had been taken with a ‘heavy heart’.
He said: “This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly. Part of why we’re here is to ensure patient safety improves in the longer run.
“Ultimately the junior doctors out here today and across the country are the consultants of the future and it’s important we don’t lose these highly trained professionals at this stage of their careers because they represent the future of the NHS.”
Fellow junior doctor Helen Spindler, 24, said that assurances had been made that strike action would not affect vulnerable patients and consultant care would be available throughout the strike for all patients at Wexham Park Hospital.
She added that the strikes were not simply a response to the government’s plans to scrap premium rates of pay for junior doctors working on Saturdays.
Helen said: “We all work weekends, none of us are saying we don’t want to work weekends. We are saying that it’s important that their remains a degree of compensation.
“The government is really pushing that but having seen the terms and conditions of the contract the concerns are so much wider than that.”
Speaking on BBC Television this morning, the Jeremy Hunt said: “You can disagree with me, you don’t have to like the health secretary, but this is not the way to express that frustration and anger.”
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