CANCER specialists at the Royal Berkshire Hospital are supporting the anticipated strike by junior doctors
CANCER specialists at the Royal Berkshire Hospital are supporting the anticipated strike by junior doctors.
Thousands of medics, including many in South Oxfordshire, are set to take action next month in protest at a new contract that they see will reduce their pay.
The British Medical Association has balloted more than 30,000 of its members.
In a statement, the 11 oncology consultants at the Reading hospital said they shared the ?dismay and bewilderment? of doctors over the way the Government had carried out negotiations.
Dr Ruth Davis said they were concerned about the possible effects of the new contract on patient safety and staff training and morale.
She said the need for changes in working patterns and remunerat lacked any ?real? evidence and would require significant extra funding of support staff.
The statement said: ?Clinical oncology is a largely outpatient speciality in which, as clinicians, we are entirely dependent on our nursing, therapy radiographer and other staff who are a scarce resource and who we already struggle to recruit and retain in a competitive market.
?The idea that we could extend services across seven days is completely unrealistic in the current financial environment.
?We already provide an emergency service for urgent radiotherapy and review of in-patients over the weekend.
?As the pay envelope remains the same and no further funding or staffing is being made available, the only logical conclusion is that existing staff would need to be spread more thinly across seven days, that some will see a drop in pay and poorer quality of life and that we could potentially end up with a worse weekday service with no evidence that this will improve out-of hours services.
?We are also a speciality heavily populated by women and those involved in out-of-program-experience in research and service development. The lack of pay progression for those taking any time out of full-time training will no doubt discourage and financially penalise parents who require periods working less than full-time or on maternity leave and those contemplating a period of research or other training.?
A Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: ?The safety of our patients is paramount. We are developing robust contingency plans to ensure that patient care remains at the highest level during any industrial action.?