Consultants on strike in Oxford have cautioned that senior medical staff are experiencing burnout and departing from the NHS.
In a dispute over pay, thousands of consultants across England commenced a 48-hour walkout at 07:00 BST on Thursday.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust has suspended certain routine and non-urgent work, cautioning about extended waiting times and impacts on A&E services.
The government has approved the recommendations of the independent pay review, agreeing to a 6% pay increase for this year.
Consultant anaesthetist Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, among those on the picket line at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, expressed that morale among senior staff in the NHS was “really, really low.”
He stated, “People are experiencing burnout, and they are genuinely concerned about their own mental and physical well-being.”
He remarked, “They are opting for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries with significantly better pay and working conditions.”
“We must find ways to retain people within the NHS, and that certainly includes the consultants,” he emphasized.
This marks the first instance of consultants participating in strike action since 2012.
During the strike, only emergency care and a limited amount of routine work, known as “Christmas Day cover,” will be available.
The consultants’ strike follows a five-day walkout by junior doctors, which concluded on Tuesday.
Consultant psychiatrist Andrew Molodynski expressed his deep regret as he had to cancel and reschedule five patients.
He stated, “While it is unfortunate and disruptive, I am confident that my actions will not cause any harm.”
“We have put in our utmost effort to ensure the safety of hospitals, and those in need of emergency care should not hesitate to seek it,” he assured.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay appealed to the profession to resolve the dispute.
He stated that the government had addressed their concerns by increasing the tax-free allowance for pension contributions and accepting the recommendations of the independent pay review body, granting consultants a 6% pay raise for this year.
Reiterating it as the government’s “last proposal,” he urged, “It is essential to prioritize patients at this moment.”
Source : bbc.com