Jeremy Hunt has been hitting the TV networks today claiming that the planned five-day strike by junior doctors, will be the worst in the history of the UK’s public health service.
In front of Sky News cameras he told the nation: “Patients will be asking why it is that the BMA, who only in May said ‘this deal is a good deal for doctors, a good deal for patients, it’s good for the NHS, it’s good for equality’, are now saying it is such a bad deal that they want to inflict the worst doctors’ strike in NHS history.”
There has already been strike action on previous occasions as the Government and junior doctors’ have consistently failed to come to an agreement on new contracts and the move to a seven-day NHS service. Around one hundred thousand operations and outpatient appointments have been cancelled so due to the on-going strike action.
Hunt has also come under criticism as their are rumours he has been given the green-light to begin a huge privatisation programme across the NHS, which many fear could the beginning of the end for universal free health care.
The chair of the BMA council, Dr Mark Porter, said the tough decision to announce five consecutive days of strike from 12 September was only agreed upon after “long and difficult debates”.
It has been claimed that it was a very close call by the BMA to back the strike plans. BMA members rejected the government’s final offer on the contract in a vote earlier in the summer.
However, Hunt claimed there were only a couple of issues to resolve before the contracts could be signed off by all parties.
Hunt said: “In July they wrote to us and said there were just four outstanding issues of concerns – we have solved two of those four issues to their satisfaction.
“The main sticking point are two issues around pay: Saturday pay and automatic pay rises for part-time workers. Weekend pay rates for doctors are higher than for nurses, police officers, and fire officers. In the 24/7 society that we live in it is very fair and reasonable deal.”
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