Doctors strike- only just 8 per cent take action claim govt

Just eight per cent of doctors working in the NHS were on strike- Government figures suggest.Doctors strike- only just 8 per cent take action claim govtA quarter of GP surgeries are operating a reduced service due to BMA members participating in the day of action, the Department of Health said.

It said some 11,500 doctors up and down the country took part in their first day of action in 37 years in protest over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

Around 2,700 elective operations were cancelled and rescheduled – approximately 9 per cent of normal daily number of elective operations.

Another 18,750 outpatient appointments have been cancelled and rescheduled – approximately 9.4 per cent of normal daily outpatient activity.

Approximately 6,000, or 75 per cent, of GP surgeries provided routine appointments today, with approximately 2,000, 25 per cent, providing urgent only appointments.

It follows a survey by The Daily Telegraph, published in today’s paper, which predicted two in three GP surgeries would be operating as normal despite the action.

In May, the BMA insisted it had a “strong” mandate for industrial action – its first strike in nearly 40 years – when half its members responded to a ballot with 79 per cent of votes in favour.

The Daily Telegraph’s research found that two thirds of GP surgeries expected to have all their doctors working today and would be open for business as usual. The vast majority of hospitals said few or no operations would be cancelled.

The slump in support for industrial action over pensions follows fierce public criticism and claims that doctors are being “greedy and immoral”. One poll on Wednesday found that only a third of Britons backed the action.

David Cameron said doctors should not strike as most already had gold-plated pensions which people working in the private sector “can only dream of”.

The BMA, representing two thirds of doctors, is fighting cuts to their £1million pension pots. Under government proposals, new doctors will have to work until 68 and make bigger contributions to earn a pension worth £68,000 a year.

According to the Department of Health, the taxpayer currently funds 80 per cent of doctors’ pensions, making the scheme “unsustainable”.

Under the terms of the BMA ballot, GPs were expected to refuse to see patients unless they were in urgent need, while hospitals were supposed to cancel all non-urgent surgery such as hip replacements and cataracts.

But a survey of 50 NHS organisations showed that many have had second thoughts.

Of 30 hospital trusts, more than two thirds said the strike would have “minimal” impact on operations and outpatient appointments, with six saying there would be no cancellations. They included the Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridgeshire, the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

A survey of 20 primary care trusts found that two thirds of GP surgeries had no doctors taking part in the strike. Of those who were affected, the majority said that surgeries would remain open as normal and patients with pre-booked appointments would be seen. In South Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire more than two thirds of family doctors were not supporting the action and would be open for “business as usual”, while in Sussex and Wakefield just a quarter of GP surgeries were taking part.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association said: “Doctors are just being greedy. It is immoral. The only losers in this are the patients who have been waiting for operations and are in pain.”

“It is reassuring that some doctors are having second thoughts, I hope a lot more will have second thoughts because the public has little sympathy with them in this financial climate.”


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