Junior doctors in Sheffield strike for third time
Hospitals across South Yorkshire will be offering reduced services until Friday morning as junior doctors strike for the third time since the start of the year in a row over new contracts.
The walkout – which started today at 8am – is taking place despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt announcing the day after their last strike on February 10 that he will impose the new contract on junior doctors.
Freya Ackroyd-Parkin, aged 25, a junior doctor at the Northern General Hospital who was on the picket line outside the Royal Hallamshire Hospital this morning, said: “Striking is our last resource – it’s the only way to have our voices heard.
“The new contract isn’t safe for us or for patients because we’ll be working more hours in understaffed wards.
She added: “We want the government to get back to the negotiating table and treat us as professionals.
“We will fight for as long as it is necessary.”
The major sticking point in the dispute is over weekend pay and whether Saturday should be largely classed as a normal working day.
Patients in Sheffield have been warned to expect longer waiting times than normal at Sheffield hospitals as junior doctors – all below consultant level – provide emergency care only for 48 hours.
Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our first priority is patient care and we have been working with junior doctors and our clinical teams to ensure urgent and emergency care is not affected during this industrial action.
“With regard to non-urgent services, we have put in place plans to limit the disruption to operations and appointments as much as possible and, where we have had to postpone, we have contacted patients directly to rearrange their appointment or treatment as quickly as possible.”