As this article is being written, the British Medical Association (BMA) and junior doctors have taken unprecedented action – a 48-hour walkout across all hospital departments.
The strike action has taken place after a breakdown in talks between health secretary Jeremy Hunt and the BMA over a change in contracted hours and pay, particularly working weekends.
Hunt, claiming that more patients die on weekends, believes that his changes will improve an ailing NHS and create better working conditions for doctors. The BMA and junior doctors argue that the contract changes could cripple the effectiveness of junior doctors, making them overtired and overworked, and putting an increasing number of patients in danger.
Panic stations have been activated thanks to the strikes, with calls for the military to lend a helping hand and fears over patient safety.
But senior doctors have become frustrated with the government for failing to assuage the situation.
The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) said, via their spokesperson Professor Ross Welch, “Consultants and specialists will be stepping into the breach today to ensure that excellent patient care continues across our NHS for those most in need.
“Senior hospital doctors have for weeks been working with Trusts to ensure that the most vital services, including cancer care, are provided.
“However, they do so with a sense of growing frustration with a government that refuses to lift the threat of planned imposition of the new contract for doctors in training.
“The HCSA has always backed in principle the idea of seven-day services, but not at any cost.
“There is no shortcut to a safe seven-day service, and widespread concerns over the impact of the current proposals on recruitment, retention and the health and well-being of the next generations of hospital consultants must not be ignored.”
The waste perspective
The HCSA isn’t alone in their concerns, but not least because an imposition of contracts could negatively impact various other services in NHS hospitals – including waste disposal.
With inadequate budgets, poor healthcare waste disposal will follow. But no matter what your budget, we’ll always provide a high-quality service – strike or no strike.