Junior doctors strike: Gaza medics send messages of support

Support for junior doctors stretched as far as the Middle East as the BMA prepared for further crunch talks with the Government over plans for a new contract

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Wednesday 13 January 2016 16:37 GMT
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Doctors working in the emergency department of Shifa hospital in Gaza send their messages of support
Doctors working in the emergency department of Shifa hospital in Gaza send their messages of support (Mohammed N. Ziara)

Pictures have emerged of doctors in Gaza supporting British junior doctors in their battle against the Government's efforts to introduce a new contract.

Medics working in the emergency department in Shifa hospital posed with placards saying: "Doctors of Gaza support NHS UK Doctors".

Fresh talks between the British Medical Association and the Government will resume on Thursday morning - a day after junior doctors ended a 24-hour walkout in protest at the terms of the new contract offered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The negotiations - hosted by conciliation service Acas - will aim to reach a deal to avert two further strikes, which will have a higher impact than this week's walkout.

A 48-hour walk out is planned for January 26 and 27 and a third strike is planned for February 10, when industrial action will include all care.

A poll earlier this week found strike action was supported by two thirds of the public, although support drops to 44 per cent when it affects A&E and other emergency services.

However, prospects of a breakthrough in the dispute appeared to be more distant than ever after the BMA accused ministers and NHS officials of causing a "fundamental breakdown in trust" following Tuesday's walkout.

The BMA claims the new contract fails to protect junior doctors working long hours and would unfairly cut out of hours pay, whereas the Government says its new safeguards will provide protection junior doctors and points to its offer of an 11 per cent rise in basic pay.

Mr Hunt described this week's walkout as "wholly unnecessary" and urged junior doctors to return to the negotiating table.

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