Thousands of junior doctors across England are going on strike on Wednesday after last-ditch talks between the government and the British Medical Association (BMA) failed to reach an agreement.
To highlight how important their work is, members of the medical profession are using the hashtag #IAmTheDoctorWho... to highlight times when they helped others or saved lives.
— Sarah Hallett (@DrSazHal) February 10, 2016
— Becky Baines (@Becbaines) February 10, 2016
— Emily SJ Williams (@esjwilliams) February 9, 2016
Junior doctors - all medics below consultant level - will provide emergency care only from 8am in the 24-hour walkout.
It is the second day of strike action by the British Medical Association (BMA) in a bitter dispute with the Government over a new contract, reports the Press Association.
A new survey ahead of the walkout suggested nine in 10 junior doctors could quit if the current contract terms were imposed.
According to the Independent, an online poll of 1,045 medics found 922 were "prepared to consider resignation" should Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt follow through on a vow to introduce his original proposal if a deal cannot be reached.
The first strike in January led to thousands of operations, procedures and appointments being cancelled across the NHS.
— Miran Pankhania (@otorhinosaurus) February 9, 2016
— Keep Our NHS Public (@keepnhspublic) February 9, 2016
#IAmTheDoctorWho cares for the generation who built the NHS.
— Erin Lonsdale (@erin_lonsdale) February 9, 2016
Another hashtag sprang up in response highlighting the view of NHS patients.
— PJW (@Westers1401) February 9, 2016
— 23weeksocksblog (@23weeksocks) February 9, 2016
The major sticking point in the dispute is over weekend pay and whether Saturday should be largely classed as a normal working day.
Currently, 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and the whole of Saturday and Sunday attract a premium rate of pay for junior doctors.
An offer from the Government in November said doctors would receive time-and-a-half for any hours worked Monday to Sunday between 10pm and 7am, and time-and-a-third for any hours worked between 7pm and 10pm on Saturdays and 7am and 10pm on Sundays.
— d steele (@djksteele) February 9, 2016
— Hannah Barham-Brown (@HannahPopsy) February 9, 2016
— Emma O'Sullivan (@OSullivanEmma) February 9, 2016
But in a new offer, dated January 16, ministers said that as part of an overall agreement, a premium rate of pay could kick in from 5pm on Saturdays rather than 7pm.
Furthermore, premium pay could start at 9pm Monday to Friday.
This offer has so far been rejected by the BMA. The Government has strongly suggested it will impose the contract if no agreement can be reached.
It is understood the BMA put forward a proposal that would have seen doctors' basic pay rise by about half the 11% offered by ministers in return for Saturday not to be treated as a normal working day.
Jeremy Hunt insists the blame for not finding a solution to the strike action lies solely with the BMA.
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