UK

Junior Doctors Hit Back At 'Sexist' Sunday Times Dominic Lawson Column With 'LikeALady' Hashtag

18/01/2016 15:49 GMT | Updated 19/01/2016 12:59 GMT

Hundreds of junior doctors on Monday hit back at a column that appeared to blame women for the battle over changes to medics' contracts and last week's NHS strike.

Medics piled in to rebuke Sunday Times columnist Dominic Lawson, who wrote that "increasing numbers of female graduates will create a major shortfall in primary care provision".

BREAKING: Junior Doctors Strike Planned For Next Week Suspended

"Fewer women than men choose to work out of hours, and the increase in women doctors may have partly influenced the recent abandonment of out-of-hours work by general practitioners in the UK," he claimed.

Even before the inevitable social media furore, Lawson himself acknowledged that the issue was contentious - joking: "I’d better say no more, however, or my daughter might write a letter to this newspaper, shooting me down in flames."

And as Lawson foretold, the column didn't fail to spark fury among junior doctors, who went on strike last week to protest Jeremy Hunt's proposed re-definition of normal working hours from 9-5 to 7-10.

They reacted with anger and accused its author of being "sexist".

And in a bid to counter Lawson's claims, many women started posting rebuttals proving they could perform their jobs as doctors perfectly as competently as their male peers tagged with '#LikeALadyDoc'.

Many posted messages that tried to mock Lawson's comments.

Even Jon Snow, the Channel 4 presenter, joined in, quipping to his 918,000 followers: "Wait till Dominic Lawson finds a woman doctor at his bedside - he may finds he needs her!"

Junior doctors staged a 24-hour walkout last Tuesday, leading to the cancellation of around 4,000 operations and thousands of appointments.

Discussions between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government will continue in an effort to break the stalemate in the English junior doctors dispute.

Two further strikes are planned - a 48-hour stoppage and the provision of emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday January 26, and a full withdrawal of labour from 8am to 5pm on Wednesday February 10.

The disagreement centres on changes to medics' pay and working conditions and the basis for the current round of negotiations is the Government's offer from early November, including an 11% rise in basic pay.

But this is offset by plans to cut the number of hours on a weekend for which junior doctors can claim extra pay for unsocial hours.

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