Thousands of Junior doctors took to more than 160 picket lines across England on Wednesday to reject a new contract that the health secretary wants to impose on them.
NHS Junior doctors are asking for a better deal for themselves, their patients, the NHS and the UK.
The Daily Express reports:
It is the second strike this year and doctors told Express.co.uk the public are only getting more onboard with their fight as time goes on.
Doctors say the contract will cut their overall pay while forcing them to work longer hours which they fear will put patients’ safety at risk.
Thousands have signed a petition during today’s strike urging the Government to understand the changes will put patients’ and doctors’ safety at risk.
Oncology registrar Ruhe Chowdhury, a doctor at Guy’s Hospital in central London, told Express.co.uk: “We’ve had a really good turn out on the picket line here and the public have been incredibly supportive.
“Every single person I’ve spoken to has been very supportive and those who aren’t then are when we explain the situation is not as simple as the Government would have them believe.
“Some people were against us striking the first time but when we explain the intricacies of the contract they get on board with us.
“We explain to people it’s not about pay cuts but is about safety for patients and how doctors are already overstretched – this contract would push us to the limit.
“Nobody wants a tired doctor performing surgery on them.”
The 33-year-old, who is on the British Medical Association’s (BMA) local negotiation team, said unless Mr Hunt can “suddenly find 6,000 extra doctors tomorrow” the contract plans are not feasible.
Her comments come after Express.co.uk revealed twice the amount of British people support the doctors’ fight than side with the Government.
John Kearns, 54, who facilitates a carer’s group for disabilities, believes the Government gave doctors “no choice” but to strike.
He said: “I feel junior doctors’ have no choice but to strike because the Government is using this contract as a political football.
“I don’t want a doctor operating on me who’s had no sleep and completely drained, nobody would.
“The only way these politicians are going to understand is if something bad happens to them because a doctor is operating on them when they’re exhausted and overstretched.”
The Government has resolutely put its foot down on accepting concessions made by the BMA, yet not one politician from any party mentioned the strike during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
Speaking to broadcasters earlier, Mr Hunt said today’s walkout is “very damaging” and it was “important” 43 per cent of Junior Doctors had today turned up to work – a number health professionals have queried.
He said: “The job of Health Secretary is to do the right thing for patients and we have now had eight studies in the last five years that have shown that mortality rates at weekends are higher than they should be. And my job is to do something about that.”
Dr Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, said he regretted the disruption to patients as nearly 3,000 operations were cancelled on Wednesday but highlighted the strike was for long-term safety of patients.
He said: “Today’s action is a resounding rejection of the Government’s threat to impose an unfair contract, in which junior doctors have no confidence.
“We deeply regret the disruption caused to patients, but this is a fight for the long-term delivery of high quality patient care, for junior doctors’ working lives and for ability of the NHS to rise to the enormous challenges facing it.
“Junior doctors already work around the clock, seven days a week and they do so under their existing contract.
“If the Government wants more seven-day services then, quite simply, they need more doctors, nurses and diagnostic staff, and the extra investment needed to deliver it.
“Rather than addressing these issues, Jeremy Hunt has rejected a fair and affordable proposal put forward by the BMA and is instead ploughing ahead with proposals that could see many Junior Doctors voting with their feet.
“That is why today’s action has the support not only of 98 per cent of those Junior Doctors who voted for it, but the majority of the public, who blame the Government for backing junior doctors into a corner, leaving them with no option.”
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