Tag Archive: doctors

A ‘skivers charter’

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 TRUST THE PUBLIC: The British Medical Association said people should be trusted not to fake illnesses

TRUST THE PUBLIC: The British Medical Association said people should be trusted not to fake illnesses

Medics’ Sick Note Plan will mean workers can sign themselves off for two weeks

GPs say doubling the time workers can sign themselves off as sick will free up appointments for people in urgent need of care.

Doctors have said that workers should be able to sign themselves off sick for up to two weeks.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said people should be trusted not to fake illness so that GPs can use appointments for people who need treatment.

Nurses, midwives and other therapists should be able to write notes for patients who do need them, doctors will say at the BMA’s annual representative meeting in Belfast on 23rd June.

Critics dismissed the plan as a “skivers’ charter”.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the BMA's General Practitioners Committee, said: “It's about empowering patients and trusting patients and reducing unnecessary appointments with GPs.

“If you've got a patient who very clearly has an illness that is going to last 10 days to two weeks, why do they need to make an appointment with a GP just to get that note to tell their employer what their employer probably knows already and what the patient should be trusted to be able to pass on?

“This is just a motion that is trying to do something to reduce the unnecessary appointments that GPs have and thereby increase the number of appointments that are available for people who genuinely do need to see a GP.”

However, Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “When someone is sick enough to be off work for a week, they should try to see a doctor.

“The electronic fit note is a simple process to enable employers to understand how sick their employee is and what they can do when they return to work."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said of the current one-week system: “We believe it supports individuals and employers without overburdening GPs. We have no plans to change the existing policy.”

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Leeds hospital staff angered by new government contract

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BANNERS FLYING: Doctors and hospital staff gather outside the Jubilee Wing at the LGI

BANNERS FLYING: Doctors and hospital staff gather outside the Jubilee Wing at the LGI

Doctors strike action outside LGI

Outside the Jubilee Wing at Leeds General Infirmary on Wednesday, a crowd of doctors, nursing and hospital staff gathered at the picket lines with their banners to protest over a new contract that would redefine weekend and evening working to not count as anti-social hours.

Nearly 3,000 operations have been cancelled as junior doctors in England begin a second 24-hour strike.

Appointments, check-ups, and tests are also set to be disrupted as a result of the walkout, which began at 8am.

In January, formal talks broke down and there is mounting speculation ministers may soon seek to impose a new contract, potentially inflaming the row further.

The key sticking point appears to be payments for working on Saturdays, but doctors in Leeds voiced that it was also due to the fact that they felt that the NHS was being dismantled before their eyes.

STRIKE ACTION: Junior doctor Kavi Fantania is in solidarity with his fellow doctors

STRIKE ACTION: Junior doctor Kavi Fantania is in solidarity with his fellow doctors

Junior doctor Kavi Fantania said: “I work for Leeds Teaching Hospital. I’m striking today because the Tories are refusing to negotiate. They want us to treat Saturday like a weekday, when we work 24/7 already.

“We’re overtired and the government are looking to remove safeguards that will mean we have to work over 100 hours a week, which is unsafe for both the doctors and the patients.”

Dr Hatel Patel said: “I’m not just striking about the anti-social hours. It’s more than that. It seems like the government want to dismantle the NHS. Nurses have had their bursaries taken away from them. We are forced to work in understaffed conditions.”

Another protestor said: “Who’s to blame? Is it the greedy nurses? Or lazy GPs?  Immigrants? Or maybe it's our corrupt, discredited, wilfully self-isolating politicians.”

British Medical Association junior doctor leader Johann Malawana  said the government should not force a contract on doctors and should “put [the] NHS before politics, patients before machismo”.

He continued: “Last weekend, thousands of us took to the streets of London and Bristol to show that our fight for a properly negotiated contract continues.

“Today, we raise our voices again, on hundreds of picket lines across England.”

Dr Phil Atkinson, 32, from Bramhope, is a junior doctor working in anaesthetics. He said: “There has been a lot of misconception about the level of cover that is being provided on the strike.

“To put it in perspective, it’s exactly the same level of medical cover that’s present on a bank holiday. For example, when we had the Royal Wedding back in 2011, a public bank holiday was declared and –actually - on the strike day there will be a slightly better level of medical cover present than in the Royal Wedding in 2011 because GP services will be open.

He continued: “The insinuation that this is dangerous and that lives are being put at risk because of the strike is, quite frankly, laughable.

"COMPLICATED: Dr Hatel Patel said that the reasons why he is striking are more complex and feels like the NHS is being dismantled"

"COMPLICATED: Dr Hatel Patel said that the reasons why he is striking are more complex and feels like the NHS is being dismantled"

“This was deemed entirely safe to create a bank holiday for a wedding. There will be significant disruptions because there will need to be cancellations of planned operations and planned outpatient appointments to free up consultants to do some of the extra work in relation to emergency cover, but effectively this is not dangerous.”

Dr Faraaz Bhatti, a registrar in emergency medicine, said: “Today's announcement that the government is imposing a contract on junior doctors is the sign of a government far removed from the people. Doctors in this country dedicate their careers to a health service free at the point of care. We aim to deliver a high quality service that always puts patients first.

“Jeremy Hunt is a politician and what we have seen today is political spin at its best. Doctors have seen through this from the very beginning, as have other healthcare professionals and we are fortunate to have the majority of the public behind us.

“By enforcing a contract, Jeremy Hunt has lost all credibility. The British Medical Association and the NHS will be present long after his political career ends and history will judge him as the Tory MP who led to an unsafe and uncertain health service.

SAVE OUR NHS: The statement is clear for all to see

SAVE OUR NHS: The statement is clear for all to see

“His failure to remain apolitical in a debate about a public service only shows that Jeremy Hunt's primary concerns are his party's wider ambitions. Junior doctors work full-time with the people, and provide 24/7 care.

“Jeremy Hunt works for a political party and does not dedicate his life to a greater and stronger NHS. So you decide who is right. Is it over 60, 000 doctors across England or is it Mr Hunt?

“We now look forward to an era of uncertainty as the BMA rightly rejects the contract in their reaction to the imposition. Mr Hunt has safely ensured that an unfair contract on doctors will indeed be unsafe for patients. The NHS and its future are now uncertain.”

Previously, David Cameron has warned in an interview that junior doctors could be forced to accept the new contract if an agreement is not reached voluntarily.

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Government still aren’t listening to NHS front line staff

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STRIKE ACTION: Junior doctors are ready to strike again on 10th February in protest against cuts to their pay package and unsociable hours of work

STRIKE ACTION: Junior doctors are ready to strike again on 10th February in protest against cuts to their pay package and unsociable hours of work

Further strikes planned by junior doctors  

A junior doctors’ strike has been planned and will go ahead on the 10th February, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

The strike will take place after a row was not resolved between junior doctors and the government over a new contract.

In 2014, talks broke down and the dispute got out of control, as ministers said they would impose a deal that meant doctors would have to work unsociable hours and created curbs to other elements of their pay package.

The Government says the new contract is necessary to improve NHS services on weekends and provide a seven-day service. They also say that studies show hospitals are less effective during those hours.

On the 12th January this year, some 38,000 junior doctors across England stood at the picket lines and staged a walk out. The protest, which was good natured and full of solidarity, was backed by 66 per cent of the public, according to results from an Ipsos MORI poll for the Health Service Journal.

Junior doctors believe changes in their contract will threaten the safety of their patents and dampen their morale.

There was an overwhelming vote from doctors to take action late last year by 98 per cent on a turnout of over 70 per cent.

Emergency care will remain in place during the 24-hour walk-out, despite initial plans for a full strike.

Doctors have pointed to previous academic evidence that strike action has had no effect on mortality rates, despite Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s opinion that strike action could endanger patients.

PROTEST: The row between junior doctors and the government is still unresolved

PROTEST: The row between junior doctors and the government is still unresolved

Dr Phil Atkinson, 32, from Bramhope, is a junior doctor working in anaesthetics. He said: “There has been a lot of misconception about the level of cover that is being provided on the strike.

“To put it in perspective, it’s exactly the same level of medical cover that’s present on a bank holiday. For example, when we had the Royal Wedding back in 2011, a public bank holiday was declared and –actually - on the strike day there will be a slightly better level of medical cover present than during the Royal Wedding because GP services will be open.”

He continued: “The insinuation that this is dangerous and that lives are being put at risk because of the strike is, quite frankly, laughable.

“It was deemed entirely safe to create a bank holiday for a wedding. There will be significant disruptions because there will need to be cancellations of planned operations and planned outpatient appointments to free up consultants to do some of the extra work in relation to emergency cover, but effectively this is not dangerous.”

Previously, David Cameron has warned in an interview that junior doctors could be forced to accept the new contract if an agreement is not reached voluntarily.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “We’ve made good progress in a number of areas. It’s regrettable the BMA has decided to proceed with further unnecessary industrial action. We will continue to stay at the table, stay talking.”

A spokesman for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service said: “We’re ready to help if the sides involved in the junior doctors’ dispute wish to use our services again.”

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