Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Cumbrian doctors’ day of action has limited impact

Industrial action by doctors had only a limited impact, NHS Cumbria says.

Fayyaz Chaudhri photo
Fayyaz Chaudhri

Yesterday’s day of action involved at least one doctor at just under half the county’s GP surgeries, although all stayed open.

In hospitals, some non-emergency operations and out-patient appointments were cancelled.

The British Medical Association (BMA) called on members to boycott non-urgent care in a dispute over pensions.

In the lead up to the day of action, the BMA leadership was clear that doctors would turn up for work to make sure that emergency and urgent services would function as normal.

Dr David Wrigley, the BMA’s Cumbria representative, said: “We want the Government to get back around the negotiating table. I hope the public will understand the action.”

Doctors are aggrieved that proposed pension changes mean they will have to contribute a greater proportion of their salaries than senior civil servants and judges, for example.

But the industrial action – the first by doctors in 40 years – divided the profession.

Dr Fayyaz Chaudhri, lead commissioning GP for Allerdale, believes many doctors who did not take part were sympathetic to the cause but felt the action was counter productive.

He said: “Deferring appointments adds to the workload. It would have a knock-on effect the next day.”

He shared the BMA’s concerns about changes to the pension scheme.

He added: “The figure of a doctor’s pension of £68,000 that has been quoted in the media, I don’t recognise at all.

“The issue is around doctors being singled out and treated differently from other public-sector workers.

“I would have no problem in paying an increased amount towards my pension if all the civil servants and MPs did too. It should be a level playing field.”

Accident and emergency units remained open yesterday.

Appointments for urgent tests, such as for cancer, went ahead as usual.

Hospitals are contacting patients to reschedule cancelled operations and out-patient appointments.

Sick patients calling at GP surgeries were able to see a doctor. But some pre-booked appointments, for medicine reviews for examples, were cancelled.

Dentists did not take part in the day of action.



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