The doctor won’t see you now ...

DOCTORS at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital and GP surgeries are expected to take part in a nationwide strike on Thursday, June 21.

But doctors taking part in industrial action will be required to turn up for work as normal to provide urgent and emergency care.

The planned strike – the first since 1975 by the BMA (British Medical Association) – is over Government plans to change the NHS pension scheme.

Dr Brian Keighley, of the BMA in Scotland, said: “We have taken this decision to take action reluctantly, but it is the only means by which we can demonstrate our anger at the UK Government’s unfair and unnecessary changes to the NHS pension scheme.

“They have refused to negotiate meaningfully with us and the other trade unions and, given doctors’ strength of feeling, we have been left with no option but to go forward with this action.”

Despite agreeing major reforms to their pensions in 2008, doctors are now being asked to work longer, up to the age of 68, and to contribute more of their salary, up to 14.5 per cent.

Impact

Not all GP surgeries in Fife are expected to take part in the industrial action, but those who do will be required to advertise in advance the impact it will have on their services.

Typically, GPs will not take routine appointments, but surgeries will remain open so patients in need of urgent attention can still be seen.

At Victoria Hospital, the industrial action could lead to the postponement of operations and appointments that can safely be delayed.

Doctors will be at work to provide emergency and urgent care, including new cancer referrals and surgery, investigations and discharges for inpatients, and emergency department and labour ward attendances.

Any doctors due to be working but who fail to attend their workplaces would be acting unlawfully and could face disciplinary action.

Rona King, NHS Fife director of human resources, said: “NHS Fife will be having discussions locally with the BMA to establish their members’ intentions on June 21. 

“The BMA have given assurances that all emergency and urgent care will be covered. Patients will be informed if this affects them as soon as possible.

“GP surgeries are still to notify NHS Fife what impact this will have on their services.”