Business as usual despite doctors’ pensions strike

Open: Broad Lane walk-in centre was among 60 per cent of surgeries where doctors did not strike. Photo: Dave Higgens/PA Wire
Open: Broad Lane walk-in centre was among 60 per cent of surgeries where doctors did not strike. Photo: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

EVERY GP surgery in South Yorkshire stayed open as patients were left barely affected by the first doctors’ strike in nearly 40 years.

The British Medical Association, which called yesterday’s action over the Government’s pension reforms, said their intention was never to ‘maximise impact on patients’ - but rather to ‘communicate the scale’ of their anger.

BMA members participating in the action turned up for work to ensure urgent and emergency care was available for patients - but refused to carry out routine operations or consultations.

But even routine care was hardly affected by the action, with 60 per cent of South Yorkshire GP surgeries maintaining a full service and hospitals making minimal changes to their services.

Just 10 out of 450 operations were cancelled at Sheffield’s adult hospitals and 136 of 3,500 appointments postponed.

Prof Hilary Chapman, chief operating officer at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Our doctors and their representatives have been working with us over the last few weeks to ensure emergency and urgent care was not affected at all today. By working together and planning ahead we have also had minimal disruption to non-urgent care.”

Doctors said government plans would see them working until 68 and paying pension contributions of 14.5 per cent.

Sheffield medical student Anna Watkinson-Powell, a member of the BMA student committee, said: “Under the proposed pension changes we would have to pay an additional £200,000 over our career.

“We could pay twice as much for our pensions as civil servants on the same pay for the same pension.”