Junior doctors picket Homerton Hospital

Junior Doctors from Homerton Hospital on strike and marching to Hackney Town Hall

Junior Doctors from Homerton Hospital on strike and marching to Hackney Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Junior doctors at Homerton Hospital are on strike today, after talks with the government failed to reach a solution.

Medics will still provide emergency cover, although the action today was originally supposed to have been a ‘full walk-out’, meaning medics would not have staffed emergency care.

It would have been an historic move and caused major disruption to hospitals. Doctors will be picketing at the hospital in Homerton Row in the morning, while others will be stationed at the Homerton Overground station during the morning rush hour to explain their stance. They will then march to Hackney Town Hall in Mare Street this afternoon.

Doctors are furious at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed changes to their contracts, due to come into effect in August.

Hunt claims he wants to change doctors’ contracts to facilitate the creation of a truly seven-day-a-week NHS, but the BMA claims the new contract will lead to doctors working evenings and weekends without overtime pay, and lacks safeguards against doctors working even more “dangerously” long hours.

A spokesman for Homerton Hospital said: “Our priority will be to ensure that there is minimal impact on emergency care and our urgent care services in particular, and our plans include suitable clinical cover for emergency rotas to ensure that we continue to provide high quality care which is safe for our patients.

“Some theatre sessions and outpatients clinics will need to be cancelled on the days of action and we shall work to ensure that any patient whose treatment or appointment is cancelled is given a new date as a matter of priority.”

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There were 181 outpatient clinic appointments cancelled on the day of the planned industrial action in December which was finally called off at the last minute, as well as two gynaecological clinics reduced to half capacity and five trauma and orthopaedic operations cancelled.