Mental health services in Birmingham & Solihull pressured by ongoing strikes

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Junior doctors with the British Medical Association (BMA) union have been on strike four times since March for three-to-five days at a time

Industrial action will continue to strain Birmingham and Solihull’s mental health services with ‘no resolution in sight’, an NHS chief executive has said.

Roísìn Fallon-Williams oversees Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) which serves a population of 1.3 million in the West Midlands and beyond.

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At the trust’s board meeting on Wednesday (August 2) she expressed concerns about the long term impact of walk-outs by junior doctors and consultants. She thanked the people who “have stepped up to make sure that those that want to take industrial action are able to” during the row over pay.

However, she added: “That isn’t to say that we aren’t concerned about the long term impact of the industrial action, particularly when it’s not clear that there is any resolution in sight.”

She also revealed the trust is planning for a longer period of “this sort of unrest” and wanted to be “realistic with the board and public” about the concerns.

A report to the board also detailed how industrial action over the last five months has cost the trust £183k.

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It reads: “We remain concerned that whilst the industrial action is being well managed in terms of providing services as best we can, that the continued disruption creates risk of harm and delays to treatment and care in an already pressured system.”

Junior doctors with the British Medical Association (BMA) union have been on strike four times since March for three-to-five days at a time, with a turn out of between 39 and 52 per cent in the BSMHFT.

A further walk out is planned between 7am Monday August 11 and 7am Friday August 15 in a demand for a 35% pay rise – although BMA’s chair, Philip Banfield, has said this figure isn’t set in stone.

Chief Executive BSMHFT Roisin Fallon WilliamsChief Executive BSMHFT Roisin Fallon Williams
Chief Executive BSMHFT Roisin Fallon Williams | Chief Executive BSMHFT Roisin Fallon Williams

Consultants – senior doctors – will be walking out for the second time this year between Thursday August 24 and Friday August 25, also over pay. Conservative PM Rishi Sunak and health secretary Steve Barclay are so far sticking to their offer of a six per cent rise, plus an additional £1250 for junior doctors.

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