Blackpool Victoria Hospital is facing disruption after junior doctors voted to go on strike in a contract row with the government.
Doctors up to consultant level will provide emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday, followed by two further spells of strike action, with a 48-hour stoppage and the provision of emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday, January 26.
And on Wednesday February 10, there will be a full withdrawal of labour from 8am to 5pm.
The row broke out after the Government offered junior doctors a new contract, saying the current arrangements – introduced in the 1990s – are ‘outdated’ and ‘unfair’.
Under the most recent proposals, doctors will receive an 11 per cent rise in basic pay but extra pay for ‘unsocial’ hours will be cut.
Currently, 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and the whole of Saturday and Sunday attract a premium rate of pay.
Under the new plans, a higher rate would run from 10pm to 7am Monday to Friday, and from 7pm on Saturday evenings, a concession on the previous 10pm.
Mr Hunt argues that, under the new deal, just one per cent of doctors would lose pay and those would be limited to doctors working too many hours already. He also said maximum working hours per week would fall from 91 to 72.
But Johann Malawana, the British Medical Association’s junior doctor committee chairman, said the increase in basic pay was misleading due to the changes to pay for unsocial hours.
Trainee surgeon at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Katherine Conroy, said: “Being a ‘junior’ doctor today – up to the level of a consultant – is a very different job to the one I signed up to when I started medical school 12 years ago.
“The NHS has been used as a political football and everyone from porters to nurses and doctors have felt the effects. We have had to fight tooth and nail for training opportunities and pay thousands of pounds in a way our predecessors never did.”
Pat Oliver, Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Director of Operations, said: “We remain hopeful that strike action will be avoided through negotiations ongoing between the Government and the BMA.
“We will take stock of the situation later in the week and a statement will be issued if necessary at that time.”