Committee member William Rowlandson writes:
I cycled up to the hospital this morning and spent a cold hour chatting with the junior doctors.
Good turnout – over 20 people when I left – mostly BMA members (photo only catches some of them).
Pickets at Kent and Canterbury hospital – photo William Rowlandson
I was impressed with the public support – 9 out of every 10 cars beeped and waved, as did the bus and taxi drivers.
Some things of the chats:
- 78% BMA turnout for the ballot. 98% in favour of industrial action.
- NHS already has a 7-day service. It always has.
- There are not sufficient doctors to deliver full service for the weekend. Hence the contract dispute.
- As with teachers and lecturers, this strike is about much more than money – much, much more. There are massive structural changes taking place in the NHS. Working conditions and pay are worsening, and the end result will be poorer services offered to the patients.
- All those I spoke to feel that Hunt is the fall guy for a wider strategy to drive down quality in the NHS, forcing patients to choose private and to sell off services to private health contractors, leading ultimately to a break-up of the NHS.
- Hunt will stick to his guns. Unlike IDS he won’t resign nor will he be sacked.
- The question is whether he has the power to impose the contracts. Many trust managers have already said they will not force the contracts on junior doctors. How, therefore, will Hunt actually impose the contract?
They are striking tomorrow too.
Good health to all!
Ben Hickman adds:
Tomorrow [Wednesday 27th] the BMA are bringing the pickets, from Canterbury, Ashford, Thanet, and beyond, to the High Street. Members and supporters will be marching from their picket line outside the Kent & Canterbury Hospital to the Square in front of Café Rouge, The Parade, Canterbury. They will start from 10.30am at K&C and finish at 11.30am at the Parade for some kind of rally. Obviously, it’s very likely to be the biggest political thing to happen in the city centre this year. Do come and show your support, even if it’s only for 10 minutes!
Please meet at K&C Hospital just before 10.30am
Southeast Regional TUC says:
Support our Junior Doctors – Protect our NHS
The BMA/Junior Doctors’ dispute, against the imposition of a new employment contract and the impact of proposed changes in their terms and conditions of employment, continues. The government is seeking to portray the dispute about being about money and the loss of a premium pay rate for working on Saturdays, and to characterise the Junior Doctors as greedy. The Junior Doctors and the BMA are adamant that the critical factor in the dispute is patient safety. The contract arrangements that the government intends to impose also disadvantage doctors who wish to work part-time or take career breaks and this would impact on many female doctors. So this struggle is very much our struggle, and it is about the ethos of the NHS, the quality of care, and Junior Doctors’ terms and conditions. See:
Junior Doctors are keen for the members of the public to be seen to be actively supporting their campaign. A good source of information, intended to provide a clear and accessible review of the issues for the general public. (Click on image for link)