Strike won't affect patient safety says QMH doc
A DOCTOR at Dunfermline's Queen Margaret Hospital has stated that next week's strike over pensions will not risk patient safety.
GPs in Fife and across Scotland are due to walk out on Thursday 21st June, the first time in 37 years they have taken industrial action.
Dr Peter Curry, consultant anaesthetist at the hospital, said he was "compelled" to back the strike due to the Government's "attack" on the NHS.
And he said, "Doctors have not taken the decision to take industrial action lightly but we hope that patients will understand that our taking action is the only way left to us to prompt the Government to negotiate fairly and honestly with NHS staff.
"On the day of action, patients can be assured that doctors in hospitals and general practice will be in their usual workplaces but providing urgent and emergency care only.
"This means that many non-urgent cases will be postponed.
"Although this will be disruptive to the NHS and to some of you, we will be there when patients need us most and the action will not impact on patient safety.
"In developing our plans, patient safety remains the overriding priority on the day of action."
He continued, "I do hope that the Government will see sense as we genuinely have no desire to inconvenience patients but without any commitment from the Government to negotiate properly we have no other option.
"It is important to explain why we are taking this action and what impact it is likely to have on your experience of the health service.
"It is open to the Government to enter meaningful negotiations and our planned action could be suspended."
Dr Curry said the dispute centred around a deal negotiated with the Government four years ago, with staff agreeing major changes to the pension scheme, that they have now gone back on.
He said, "We agreed a tiered contribution scheme so that higher earners (including many doctors) contributed more to protect lower-paid workers.
"We also agreed an increase in pension age for new entrants and staff - not taxpayers - taking on sole responsibility for any further increases needed to cover increases in costs, such as those created by people living longer.
"Now the government wants to tear up that deal. We believe that the changes are both unnecessary and unfair.
"The NHS pension scheme is not a drain on taxpayers. It currently delivers a surplus of £2 billion to the Treasury each year."
Dr Curry said that if the strike goes ahead, doctors would only undertake clinical work of an urgent or emergency nature.
He explained, "We have been working with managers locally to plan for the day of action and we will seek to postpone in advance any consultations or routine procedures that can safely be delayed.
"Care which is not urgent - including many routine operations and appointments - is likely to be postponed to another day but will not be cancelled altogether.
"If care cannot be postponed safely, it will not be postponed at all."
And Dr Curry added, "As part of our discussions with managers in NHS Fife, we have encouraged them to advise patients as soon as possible if their appointments are postponed.
"General practice surgeries where doctors are taking part in the industrial action will notify patients directly about their plans for the day of action.
"Practices will remain open and fully staffed for urgent patients, so they can see patients in need of attention that day.
"However, there will not be any routine, non-urgent appointments available. These arrangements will be advertised by the practice to patients in advance."
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Jun 15, 16:35
Jun 15, 23:40
It's worth pointing out that the British Medical Association does not like the term 'strike' - they're just severely limiting what they'll be doing that day. What other union ensures that it's own members cover shifts to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it?
Recommend? Yes 5 No 4
Jun 17, 00:00
The BMA doesn't like anything that impacts doctors' pay. Full Stop!
Remember when you could drop into thye doctor's surgery at anytime and be seen, when the doctor came to your home to see you when you were ill, when the doctor came out at weekends, when the doctor came out at nights, when the doctor actually saw you rather than passing you off onto a nurse, when the doctor diagnosed and treated you rather than shooting you off to hospital for a check-up?
The fact simply is that doctors are very well paid for the job they do. Their pay has rocketed over the years while the work they do has dropped like a stone. Like everyone they are living longer and their pensions have to come from somewhere. The BMA wants everyone else to pay for it, not the doctors themselves.
So as the first poster said - respect those doctors who remember why they entered the profession.
Recommend? Yes 5 No 2