Thursday, April 07, 2016

Junior Doctors Strike - it's not all about the money

photo from Dr Tony O'Sullivan on twitter

Pickets were out at hospitals across the country yesterday - and will be again today - in the 4th strike in the ongoing Junior Doctors dispute.  In South East London that included Lewisham Hospital (pictured above) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich. Simon Pirani, who was at Woolwich, has sent us this report:

'Junior doctors picketed Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich this morning in protest at the Tory government’s attempt to impose a new contract. Together with local supporters (including me) they formed a group of about 20 at the main gate. Patients on their way in to appointments wished them well; drivers honked and waved.
Women doctors on the picket line were especially incensed at the results of an equality impact assessment, released by the government last week, which show that the new contracts will disproportionately disadvantage women. They were also angry about the way that the contract terms discriminate against junior doctors working part-time – many of whom are women with children.
The pickets hope that the threat of all-out strike action, on 26-27 April, will persuade the government to back down from imposing the contract ... or at least to put it out for consultative review.
My impression was that the junior doctors’ dispute has almost nothing to do with the level of pay. These are people who spend up to 15 years training for a demanding (and ultimately well paid) profession. They already work all the shifts that god sends, and have to move hospitals regularly. It is the way that the contract is being rammed through – and the way that it takes unsocial hours working for granted – that infuriates them.
Anger is also generated by the government’s dictatorial handling of negotiations with the BMA, its insulting propaganda (“extra deaths at the weekends” and all those lies) and its bullying demeanour. On top of that, the new contract is obviously part of a long continuum of changes aimed at trashing the NHS as a publicly-provided service and making it a privatised business.
The pickets will be at QEH again on Tuesday 26 April, at 8.0 am, when they will be on all-out strike. Please join them'.
Striking junior doctors in Woolwich

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