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NEC Statement on the resumption of industrial action by Junior Doctors
The Liberal Party notes with great sadness that the doctor's professional body, the BMA, is advocating a resumption of industrial action in response to government plans to change working hours and pay rates in the NHS.

The origins of this dispute lay in the Conservative government's desire to impose high street shopping style opening hours on hospitals, extending doctors standard working hours into Saturdays, whilst offering modest salary incentives as compensation.

Doctors, many of whom work long, arduous hours naturally have a right to have objections to such plans, some of which do relate to loss of salary. There are also questions over the realistic implementation of these changes when many hospital trusts are already under serious financial strains, with increasingly unsustainable demands of A&E services.

The Conservative parties default approach to almost all public sector disputes, be it nurses, teacher, the police and now medical professionals remains confrontational and to shout loudly, whilst claiming public support for the availability of medical services as a on demand service however impractical.

The Liberal Party calls for a more constructive and realistic debate on opening hours and hourly rates. The Liberal Part points towards its own Health & Wellbeing program as a first step towards a more realistic provision of services to the public.
A fundamental problem here has been the long term underinvestment in training of medical personnel, be it doctors, nurses or others.  We have built a training system that presumes that we can operate on minimum level of medical professionals.  If we want to have 24/7 cover, we need to have the level of personnel available to provide that cover, which means increasing the number of doctors and nurses available by at least 50%.  At the moment we have 2.2 doctors per 1000 head of population.  To really have an effective medical system we need to have something more like 4 per 1000.

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