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Bromley junior doctors hold strike today over proposed contracts

PUBLISHED: 13:40 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:40 12 January 2016

Junior doctors striking at the Bethlem Royal Hospital

Junior doctors striking at the Bethlem Royal Hospital

Archant

This is the first time such industrial action has been called in for over 40 years

Junior doctors striking at the Bethlem Royal HospitalJunior doctors striking at the Bethlem Royal Hospital

Junior doctors in Bromley this morning took part in a nationwide strike over proposed new contracts.

The doctors claim that the new contracts put forward by health secretary Jeremy Hunt will mean they are working more antisocial hours for less pay, and will mean less time is provided for research on key areas such as cancer or dementia.

This is the first time such industrial action has been called in for over 40 years and, despite the action, there are still junior doctors providing emergency care at each and every hospital.

Dr Stania Kamara, a psychiatry junior doctor who appeared on the picket line at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, said: “This is unprecedented because it is the first time in so long that junior doctors are taking strike action, and it’s done with a heavy heart.

“Nobody wants to be striking, we would rather be with our patients.”

Dr Kamara, 30, insisted it’s not just a matter of pay, but that patient safety was a priority.

She said: “These contracts mean we will be working more hours with less breaks, and doctors who don’t have adequate breaks make mistakes, and mistakes mean that people die.

“The government always say they listen to people, and I urge them to listen to us because we are on the frontline.

“We are being pushed to the limit and we cannot do any more.”

Others, however, are not convinced that the trusts can sufficiently cover the absence of the junior doctors today.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The BMA should call off this dangerous strike and return to the negotiating table before patients suffer, not least because they insist that patient safety is their paramount concern.

“The current contract is a shambles, making costs unpredictable for the NHS, encouraging doctors to under-report hours and allowing them to work dangerous shift patterns.

“The proposed contract may not be perfect, but it represents a significant improvement for both patients and the NHS.”

The walkout comes just days after South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust had achieved a ‘good’ overall rating by the Care Quality Commission.

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