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Docs stick to their guns.

JUNIOR doctors braved hailstorms to staff the picket lines during a second day of all-out strikes against new contracts.

Doctors sheltered under their placards outside Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital during another day of walk-outs from all departments across England.

For a second day, in what is the first all-out strike in the NHS's history, doctors from emergency and acute teams joined their colleagues in planned care on the pickets.

Again motorists beeped their horns while pedestrians gave the thumbs-up in shows of solidarity.

The new contracts, imposed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, redefine the regular working hours of doctors below consultant grade.

Doctors' union the BMA says the contracts - part of Mr Hunt's attempt to create a '24-hour NHS' - will lead to overall pay cuts and dangerously long shifts.

Among those on the picket line at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) - and expecting a pay cut under the new contract - was psychiatric doctor Jane Thomas.

Dr Thomas, who works at The Dales unit for patients with severe mental health problems, said she could expect to be paid the equivalent of PS2.55 per hour for a 24-hour on-call shift.

She said: "It's getting to a point where it's quite frankly insulting. An overnight session works out at PS2.55 per hour - my daughter earns PS5 an hour as a babysitter. I think I'd be better off doing that.

"We do 24-hour shifts because there aren't enough staff.

"People don't think this affects people working in mental health, but it does."

Also on the CRH picket was acute medicine doctor Zahra Hussain.

Dr Hussain said: "We've had a great turnout and great support from the public, even more so than on previous strikes.

"The NHS provides 24-hour emergency care and five-day elective care. "Jeremy Hunt wants to stretch elective services to seven day which isn't unreasonable - but it's using the same resources.

"This means staff having to do longer shifts and a weaker service.

"The elective service is on the brink already and to stretch it further would just be dangerous. We've already got massive gaps in the rota."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2016
Words:350
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