Junior doctors across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are joining national strike action in a dispute over pay.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said doctors wanted a pay increase to make up for 15 years of inflation.

The union said pay levels meant many doctors felt “overworked and undervalued” and had sought jobs in other countries or sectors.

The government said it “hugely values” junior doctors’ work and the strike action was “disappointing”.

The 72-hour walkout by junior doctors, who represent 40% of the medical workforce, began at 06:30 GMT and involves both emergency and planned care.

Consultants are being brought in to provide cover.

Patients have been told to attend their appointments unless they have been contacted to rearrange them.

Dr Chris Morris works in West Yorkshire and is a BMA representative for junior doctors.

He said some doctors were earning £14 an hour and that he and his colleagues had faced a “real-terms pay cut of 26% since 2008”.

“We are striking to ensure that our pay is restored but also to prevent doctors from leaving the profession or leaving to work abroad,” he said.

He said that if pay levels were not restored “it’s really unsure who is going to be left working in the NHS”.

Junior doctors include people who have just graduated from medical school through to staff with many years of experience working in hospitals and GP surgeries.

Dr Henrietta Pinhol is a single mother to a four-year-old child and a locum junior doctor in Hull.

She said she was considering leaving the NHS to work as a junior doctor abroad because she was struggling to make ends meet on her current wage.

“No doctor wants to strike at all… [but] the job has become completely untenable,” she said.

“After the last two years working foundation training, it’s completely bankrupt me with childcare. It’s completely impossible now.

“It’s ridiculous. I’m a doctor and I can’t afford to do my job.”

She said she had “taken time out to reassess things” and felt there was no financial incentive to work as a doctor in the UK.

Dr Becky Bates is a first-year foundation doctor in Lincoln and a BMA representative. She said she felt doctors were not being valued in the UK.

“I’m getting adverts directly targeted to me trying to recruit me to Australia and to Canada,” she said.

“We are losing doctors.”

She said she and her colleagues were taking industrial action in a bid to “maintain the health service long term”.

Hospital picket lines

  • York Hospital
  • Lincoln County Hospital
  • Pilgrim Hospital in Boston
  • Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby
  • Hull Royal Infirmary
  • Scunthorpe General Hospital
  • Doncaster Royal Infirmary
  • Northern General Hospital in Sheffield
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital
  • Barnsley Hospital
  • Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
  • Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield
  • Leeds General Infirmary
  • St James’s Hospital in Leeds
  • Bradford Royal Infirmary
  • Airedale General Hospital
  • Harrogate District Hospital

Beverley Geary, director of nursing at NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said it was vital that people did not put off seeking medical help during the strikes if they needed care.

She said: “As we have seen with previous industrial action, disruption is inevitable and all health services will be extremely busy.”

The government said it had worked with NHS England on contingency plans for strike days but that some disruption for patients would be “inevitable”.

The Department of Health and Social Care said junior doctors’ pay had increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019-20, and a higher pay band had been introduced for the most experienced staff and rates for night shifts increased.

A spokesperson said the health secretary had met with the BMA “to discuss what is fair and affordable” and wanted to continue talks on “how we can make the NHS a better place to work”.

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