Non-urgent care targeted by doctors' industrial action
Published: 21st Jun 2012 00:39:40
The first industrial action by doctors for almost 40 years is under way.
British Medical Association members across the UK are boycotting non-urgent care in a dispute over pensions.
Routine hospital appointments and non-emergency operations will be affected, while GPs are also taking part.
The scale and the extent of the disruption to patients is not yet clear, although doctors have promised not to target emergency care.
Much will depend on how many doctors take part.
Most medics working in the NHS are members of the BMA.
The union balloted 104,000 doctors about industrial action and half responded.
Eight in 10 were in favour of taking action.
Ahead of the action, some NHS trusts were saying fewer than 10% of bookings had been cancelled.
These included appointments with consultants and operations such as knee and hip replacements.
However, it is possible there will be cancellations on the day as doctors do not have to tell their employers whether they are taking part.
Both the government and BMA have been quick to stress that patients should still seek help if they need it.
A&E units and maternity departments will remain open.
GP telephone lines will also be staffed and anyone needing an urgent appointment should get one.
Only routine check-ups have been cancelled by GPs.
However, NHS leaders have warned the disruption to patients could be worse than expected.
NHS Employers director Dean Royles said the industrial action could lead to surges in demand in places such as A&E units.
He added: "We are deeply concerned about the distress it will cause patients."
BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: "Our intention is not to have the maximum impact on the public.
Dr Naveem Akram is a partner of a GP surgery in Swansea. He will be handing out flyers to his patients so they understand what is happening.
But he says patients needing care on the day will still be seen. Only the routine follow-up appointments and medicine reviews have been put off.
"I don't want any disruption and inconvenience to patients but I want to do something to show that I am not in favour of the changes.
"From a professional point of view, this is not a nice position to be in. We're hardwired to look after patients so to do something like this is not nice.
"But these changes pretty much double my pension contributions. The argument that the current pension scheme is not sustainable is wrong. "
"Our argument's not with the public. It's with the government.
"Yes people will be inconvenienced but we want to get back to real discussions, sensible discussions about how we can move forward."
The BMA has argued the government is wrong to try to change the current arrangements because a new deal was only agreed in 2008.
It has pointed out that the current scheme is bringing in a surplus of £2bn a year and under the new plans they are being asked to contribute much more than other high earners in the public sector.
Under the plans, doctors will be asked to work for longer - until 68 - and contribute more of their pay.
But ministers have insisted the changes are necessary.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The BMA has failed to recognise the economic and political realities.
"We all wish there was more money to go round but there isn't, everyone is having to tighten their belts."
Will you be affected by the industrial action? Will you be taking part? Send us your views using the form below.
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions
At 17:58:23 in SportSunderland have named former Chelsea chief scout Lee Congerton in a newly created role of sporting director.
At 17:56:07 in ScotlandBillionaire investor George Soros has said he does not think it would be possible for an independent Scotland to keep the pound.
At 17:55:24 in SportGuernsey Cricket Board CEO Mark Latter says the poor showing in Malaysia is a temporary blip in their development.
At 17:53:26 in HeadlinesPalestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired more than 30 rockets at southern Israel, Israeli officials say.
At 17:46:32 in SportVisually impaired skier Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell say they will "go for broke" in the pursuit of Paralympic gold.
At 17:44:48 in PoliticsDavid Cameron has accused Labour of making "no sense whatsoever" on Europe, after leader Ed Miliband said it was "unlikely" his party would hold a referendum on staying in the EU.
At 17:42:47 in Northern IrelandThree police officers will find out next month if they are to stand trial for perverting the course of justice.
At 17:42:43 in HeadlinesWith too few young people registering for President Obama's beleaguered healthcare plan, the most powerful man in the world subjected himself to a self-deprecating online interview. Twenty four hours later #BBCtrending asks: did it really work?
At 17:41:41 in ScotlandDefence Secretary Philip Hammond has issued a correction in parliament to an answer concerning an incident at the Vulcan submarine reactor test site.
At 17:40:22 in Northern IrelandThe final bill for settling hearing loss claims by former RUC officers could be almost a quarter of a billion pounds.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Non-urgent care targeted by doctors' industrial action [Online] (Updated 21st Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1435947/Non-urgent-care-targeted-by-doctors-industrial-action [Accessed 12th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
Two girls have been bailed on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon after an alleged attack on a pupil at a south London school.
The family of a man who died after what was called one of the worst examples of poor treatment in the Welsh NHS, has accused the General Medical Council of refusing to take action against some doctors responsible for his care.
Long-running US sitcom The Big Bang Theory has been extended for a further three series, broadcaster CBS has said.
Sunderland have named former Chelsea chief scout Lee Congerton in a newly created role of sporting director.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com