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Junior Doctors’ Industrial Action

Junior Doctors’ Industrial Action

Once again, we have put in place contingency plans for the industrial action by ‘junior’ doctors, scheduled for Wednesday 10 February. The doctors taking action will provide emergency cover only from 08:00 on Wednesday 10 February until 08:00 on Thursday 11 February.

If you are a patient with an appointment, please continue to attend as normal. Any patients affected by the strike action will be notified in advance.

We have 546 doctors who fall under the category of ‘junior doctors’ working here at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The term junior does not do them justice. This group includes some very experienced doctors, including our Foundation  doctors working at year 1 or year 2, Core Trainees , Specialty Registrar doctors and Trust-funded junior doctors.

They are a crucial and much valued part of our care team. We meet regularly with them – senior staff including our Chief Executive and Medical Director – and members of the Board attend the junior doctors mess to answer questions, address concerns and receive feedback.

As with all industrial action in the past, we work with the union in question, in this case the BMA, to put in place plans to ensure the safe continued care of patients.

Our doctors have the interests of their patients at heart and abide by their own professional GMC guidance .

It is important to note that no member of staff at this Trust has ever compromised patient care by taking strike action.

On the contrary, the commitment and professionalism of healthcare staff always comes through in the shape of exemplary co-operation to ensure the continued safe care of patients. In the past, for example, small teams of staff have split a day’s industrial action between them in order to continue to provide a limited service for patients.

We will continue to work with our doctors and the BMA to ensure that whilst we respect their right to take industrial action, there are sufficient doctors to provide a safe reduced service with key areas such as the Emergency Department, Maternity and Intensive Care clearly needing to have sufficient staff to cover their emergency nature. Our more experienced senior doctors will also help to provide cover.

Any strike action would affect our ability to deliver planned care, such as planned procedures and operations but we will know this in advance and will reduce the levels of planned activity accordingly.

We are staffed in the hospital as we would be for a Bank Holiday, plus we have additional consultants in as it is a Wednesday, during the working week.

In total, as a result of the industrial action, we have postponed the following:

  • 5 inpatient operations
  • 10 daycase operations
  • 137 outpatient appointments

We recognise how very difficult this is for patients who have their appointments or operations postponed. We are doing everything we can to re-schedule them for as soon as possible.

Out of 258 doctors rostered for duty today, 170 participated in the strike.

iA Foundation doctor (FY1 or FY2) is a grade of medical practitioner in the United Kingdom undertaking the Foundation Programme – a two-year, general postgraduate medical training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.

iiCore Medical Training is the two-year part of postgraduate medical training between Foundation Year 1 and 2 and the medical subspecialties.

iiiThe GMC’s core guidance, Good Medical Practice, does not prevent doctors from taking part in industrial action. However, any doctor contemplating industrial action must follow GMC guidance, which makes it clear that they must make the care of their patient their first concern.
‘Doctors should take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that arrangements are in place to care for their patients and should not disrupt the arrangements employers have made. Doctors have a responsibility for continuity and coordination of care, and for the safe transfer of patients between different teams. Their actions must not harm patients or put them at risk. http://www.gmc-uk.org/news/28249.asp

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