Junior doctors in Harrogate strike for fourth time in contract dispute

Junior doctors on strike in Harrogate
Junior doctors on strike in Harrogate

Junior doctors in Harrogate begun their 48-hour walk-out this morning (Wednesday, April 6) in protest over contacts which they have described as ‘unsafe and unfair’.

The strike started at 8am with scores of junior doctors in Harrogate, and across the country, walking out for the fourth time as part of the long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Junior doctors picketed outside Harrogate and District hospital and said they were ‘deeply concerned’ after seeing the new terms and conditions imposed in their new contract.

Dr Deborah Goldfield explained that she had decided to strike with other junior doctors as the new contract would be detrimental to patients as well as the NHS.

She said: “The main message I was telling people is that I was there as a patient, I was there as a doctor and I was there as a woman and a mother. The new contract discriminates me on all four aspects.

“Our concerns about safety are genuine. We will be having far less rest in between days and night shifts, there will be nobody overseeing our hours.

“We’ve got public support but we don’t want to be on strike. David Cameron can step up anytime, they can stop all this striking, it’s in their hands.”

Doctors are again providing emergency cover, but 5,000 operations and procedures have been postponed. NHS England said the continued disruption was 'deeply regrettable'.

Despite numerous outpatient appointments being postponed at Harrogate Hospital because of the strike, Dr Goldfield believes public support is stronger than ever.

She said: "It's been a really good turn out, I was worried it was going to be less and less people each time but the mood has definitely changed in terms of public support.

"With everything else going on in the news there seems to be more public understanding to what we are doing and why we are doing it.

"The mood on the picket line is one of great strength, unity and comradery. Because of the public support we are getting, we know that we're doing the right thing."

The first ever walkouts of emergency care in the history of the NHS are planned for the end of April but Dr Goldfield is still urging the Government to 'get back around the table'.