Doctor speaks out about why he’ll be striking
DOCTORS across Warwickshire are expected to be among the first in almost 40 years to take part in a national strike tomorrow (Thursday).
While emergency, cancer and maternity services will operate as normal, the disruption is likely to affect patients with appointments at hospitals and at their GPs’ surgeries across the county.
Among those taking part in the industrial action is Mark Porter, a consultant at the University Hospital in Coventry and also the chairman of the British Medical Association’s national consultants’ committee and the union’s representative for Coventry and Warwickshire.
He said: “I know some doctors will have personal ethical difficulties with taking industrial action, so I don’t know how many will be doing so, but I expect the turnout to be strong.
“This dispute is about an agreement that was signed four years ago that set up the pension scheme on a sustainable base for the future.
“We agreed to take the risk of any future demographic change. This made the scheme unique among public sector schemes.
“The Government has now come in and treated us as if we are some sort of toxic bank asset.”
The average hospital consultant retiring today will receive a pension of £48,000 and a lump sum of more than £140,000. But Mr Porter said: “We are not asking for bigger pensions or more money. We are asking for the Government to respect the agreement made four years ago.”
He advised people who have an appointment on Thursday to contact the hospital or surgery at which it is due to find out if it is taking place.
Dr David Spraggett, of Castle Medical Centre in Kenilworth and chairman of the South Warwickshire clinical commissioning group, said: “It is a GP’s choice as an individual whether to take part in any industrial action. Any GPs and practices that do take part will still be seeing urgent and emergency patients.
“Members of the public can be assured that patients will not be put at risk and there will be minimal disruption to services as a result of any industrial action.”
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Weather for Warwick
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
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Wind direction: West
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