Doctors walk out of ‘bucking bronco’ NHS

Staff on strike outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital.  Pictured L-R Carrick Allison, Ronan O'Neill, Anna Smith, Sophie Harding, Iona Morrison and Claire Ashley.

Staff on strike outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Pictured L-R Carrick Allison, Ronan O'Neill, Anna Smith, Sophie Harding, Iona Morrison and Claire Ashley.

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Junior doctors walked out in a row over contracts as the NHS was compared to ‘riding a bucking bronco’ yesterday.

Three operations were cancelled alongside 148 appointments at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as doctors up to consultant level went on strike.

It will end at 8am this morning, although two further 48-hour strikes are planned for April 8 and April 26.

Mike Wedgeworth, the chairman of public voice group Healthwatch Lancashire said: “Following what’s happening to the National Health Service is like riding a bucking bronco: up in the air one minute and on the ground the next.

“Junior doctors dismay one day; the next, good news about more investment in mental health.

“Hospitals facing huge deficits, missing targets, social care slashed on one side; government providing extra cash for new models of care, and promising more doctors and nurses on the other.

“Is it crisis or cheer? Catastrophe or challenge?

“And what on earth are those who use health and care services to make of it?”

The British Medical Association (BMA) said its members are striking because Jeremy Hunt is imposing a new contract on junior doctors after lengthy negotiations broke down.

But Dr Mike Durkin, NHS national director for patient safety, said the new contract would deliver a number of benefits, including limits on working hours.