Joy for junior doctors at L&D Hospital as strike gets called off

L&D Hospital
L&D Hospital

Junior doctors have expressed their joy after industrial action at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital was called off at the last minute.

Doctors on emergency cover had planned to picket outside the hospital from 8am to 5pm yesterday but the strike was cancelled after talks were held between the government and the British Medical Association.

Action had been on the horizon for months as the Department for Health attempted to impose a new contract on junior doctors.

The BMA said that changes to working hours would have left doctors overworked, threatening patient safety.

An outline agreement between the two parties was reached on Monday night.

Dr Abu Abioye, who has been a junior doctor at the L&D for four months, welcomed the discussions.

He told the Dunstable Gazette: “We are incredibly happy that we are back at the negotiating table and we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Hopefully the government will stick to it and put patients’ safety first, we shall wait and see.

“We really did not want to strike, it was a huge ethical and moral conflict for us.

“It has also meant resources being taken away from patients as there have been meetings with HR and the MBA.”

Dr Abioye, 26, added: “98% voted in favour of strike action and if that had not happened an unsafe contract would have been imposed upon us.”

Prior to the planned strike the L&D held off on making changes to patient appointments and decided to wait until the end of the negotiations.

Following the temporary resolution it advised patients to arrive as planned. As things stand the Department of Health and BMA have until January 13 to continue talks.

Until then NHS Employers, which represents junior doctors, has said that no strikes will take place.

The government has also agreed not to impose a contract prior to that date.