Strike action is the ‘only way’, says Ilford doctor

An Ilford doctor believes taking strike action is the “only way” to get the government to listen and enter into talks over pensions.

Dr Anil Shah and his colleagues at the Ilford Medical Centre, Cleveland Road, Ilford, went on strike today and the practice, along with 14 others in Redbridge, remained open for emergency appointments only.

He said: “My colleagues and I went on strike but we were still seeing emergency appointments and informed our patients a long time in advance about the strike to minimise problems.

“It is unfortunate that we have to go down this route but it is the only way possible to get the government to talk to us. Patient safety is what’s most important and nothing will jeopardise that.”

All 47 GP practices remained open on Thursday due to the walk out over pensions, which was the first by doctors in 40 years.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which looks after King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital, Romford, added that inpatient treatment, urgent care and cancer services were “entirely unaffected” by the British Medical Association strike.

BHRUT chief executive Averil Dongworth said on Thursday: “The trust contacted 331 outpatients in advance to reschedule their appointments to another convenient date. A further 843 outpatient appointments are going ahead as planned.

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“Our staff are working hard to ensure that patients receive the care that they need during the industrial action.”

NHS East London and the City, which looks after Redbridge GP practices, said family surgeries were not significantly affected.

A spokesman said: “Doctors across our area are clear that their first priority is to care for patients. Anybody needing urgent treatment on Thursday will be able to get it.”

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