South Yorkshire doctors prepare to walk out

Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.
Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.

Junior doctors in South Yorkshire are all set to go on strike next week after talks with the Government over new contracts broke down.

The British Medical Association has called three walkouts – the first next Tuesday.

The strike will run from 8am on Tuesday to 8am on Wednesday, and from 8am on January 26 to 8am on January 28.

Strikes were originally due to be held in November but were called off at the 11th hour.

Emergency care will be covered on the first two strikes but a further spell of industrial action, from 8am to 5pm on February 10, is planned to be a full walk-out.

Picket lines will be in place at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals in Sheffield as well as outside Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Junior doctors will also hold a demonstration in Weston Park at 1pm.

In addition, there will be pickets at District General Hospitals including Rotherham, Barnsley and Chesterfield.

The strikes come after the Government proposed a controversial new contract for junior doctors, which included reclassifying a doctor’s normal working week to include Saturdays and up to 10pm every night except Sunday.

Junior doctors argue they face up to a 30 per cent pay cut as evenings and Saturdays will be paid at the standard rate rather than a higher, antisocial hours rate.

They also say the new contract removes any safeguards to make sure doctors aren’t overworked. The Government has asked conciliation service Acas to step in.

A spokesman for Sheffield Children’s Hospital said a small number of appointments may be re-booked and the service will contact families directly if they are affected .

Emergency services at the hospital will be unaffected.

The spokesman said: “We are working to ensure that we can continue to deliver safe, quality services to children and young people .

“We have tried and tested contingency measures to make sure children and young people get the care they deserve.”

Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:“This is a national issue and we will of course respect our doctors’ decision to take industrial action or not. However, our first priority is patient care and we will be working with doctors to ensure urgent and emergency care is not affected.”