Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Colleagues Back Doctors in Latest Two-Day Strike

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Colleagues Back Doctors in Latest Two-Day Strike

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Graham Reporter hannah.graham@trinitymirror.com @HannahGraham21

NORTH East consultants and nurses have emphasised their support for junior doctors on the first day of the latest strike.

More than 20,000 junior doctors are thought to have been on strike yesterday.

Figures complied by NHS England suggest 78% of junior doctors (21,608) who were expected to be working yesterday had not reported for duty. However, NHS England said the figures had not been fully validated and includes those who may be off due to sickness or other reasons.

During the previous strike earlier this month, around 14,600 junior doctors were not at work on each of the two days. Of those, around 12,800 (88%) were actually on strike, with the remainder absent for other reasons such sickness, NHS England said.

The strike is the first time junior doctors have withdrawn full labour,including emergency care, which has been mostly provided by their more senior consultant colleagues.

More than 125,000 appointments and operations have been cancelled and will need to be rearranged as a result of the latest strike, which will continue from 8am to 5pm today.

Across England, hospitals appear to have coped well, with low waiting times across A&E departments and no urgent calls for doctors to return from the picket lines.

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokeswoman said that the PM thought the public were beginning to doubt whether the strike was "an appropriate and proportionate response to take" while Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the strike was in part politically motivated. But senior doctors at work in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary said that the strike day had been "absolutely fine".

Dr John Hanley, a consultant haematologist working in the hospital who had been at work throughout the hours when junior doctors were on strike, said: "Everything has been absolutely fine as far as I have seen, all areas are being looked after by consultants and there have been no issues for patient safety. …

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