The “short term pain” of a sustained strike would be worthwhile if it protected the NHS, an A&E registrar said today.

Dr Michael Mclaughlin, a specialist A&E registrar at St Thomas’ said the contracts were especially dangerous to A&E departments where doctors frequently have to work overtime.

He also claimed if his mother needed to go into A&E he’d feel comfortable with her seeing a consultant in the hospital today.

Speaking at his first strike Dr Mclaughlin, 31, who works one in three weekends, said: “None of us wanted to be on strike.

“We need to do short term actions to protect the NHS.

“Firstly, these contracts are exceptionally unsafe and they spread too many doctors too far.

“Secondly, for specialities like A&E, we want to recruit and retain doctors.

“As specialisms like A&E and maternity require doctors to work long hours and overtime, these contracts will discourage them into these areas and we know what that will mean for the patients.”

Dr Mclaughlin said he had not received any negative responses from either his patients or other doctors, he said: “Among my colleagues, we are unified across the profession, consultants are standing with us.”

Insisted cover provided during the strike was safe he said: “We have consultants here today. There is someone here to answer every bleep.

“If my mother needed to go to A&E today, I would be happy for her to see a consultant.”

He added he would participate in a sustained strike for which there would be no set end date.

He said: “If there were enough senior consultants to offer cover, I would say that the short term pain would be worth it in the long term to protect the NHS, as long as there is enough senior cover.”

The A&E registrar who lives in Battersea also said he has considered moving back to Northern Ireland to work if the new contracts are forced through.

He said: “I have thought about this and I could move back to Northern Ireland, or I could move to Scotland.

“Their contracts are a lot safer than these ones Hunt is offering.

“In Scotland they actually have a seven day working contract but it has safe working time plans for doctors.

“We’re not unreasonable people, we all want to go back to work and we already work these hours anyway.

“We just don’t want unsafe working plans.”

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