Senior hospital doctors’ union the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) has warned of "growing frustration" among senior clinicians at the government's failure to act to defuse the junior doctors’ dispute.
HCSA is the only TUC-affiliated professional association and trade union dedicated solely to hospital doctors.
HCSA President Professor Ross Welch said: “Consultants and specialists will be stepping into the breach today to ensure that excellent patient care continues across our NHS for those most in need.
“Senior hospital doctors have for weeks been working with Trusts to ensure that the most vital services, including cancer care, are provided.
“However, they do so with a sense of growing frustration with a government that refuses to lift the threat of planned imposition of the new contract for doctors in training.
"The HCSA has always backed in principle the idea of seven-day services, but not at any cost.
“There is no shortcut to a safe seven-day service, and widespread concerns over the impact of the current proposals on recruitment, retention and the health and well-being of the next generations of hospital consultants must not be ignored.”
HCSA Chief Executive Eddie Saville said: “In order to safeguard future patient safety, and the well-being of clinical staff and the NHS as a whole, it is vital that any disagreements are resolved through negotiation.
“This has always been the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association position, and we stick by that today even as our members are placed under intense pressure as a result of this dispute
“Only a fair negotiated settlement that eases these concerns will lead to a stable backdrop where all stakeholders in the NHS can move forward together in partnership to meet the 21st century challenges facing our world-class health service.”