Sunday, February 14, 2016

Solidarity with the junior doctors

Outside the main entrance of the local hospital

Earlier this week, whilst on en route to my daughter's nursery, I decided to take a detour and support the striking junior doctors outside Croydon University Hospital, formerly known as Mayday Hospital. A registrar (junior doctor) at Mayday was on hand at the birth of our daughter when complications developed and I felt it was important to physically show support.

In a backdrop of corporations and multi-billionaires enjoying increased wealth through tax avoidance, I think most people would want doctors not to endure a real terms pay cut when morale is already low in the NHS. The thought of overworked and underpaid surgeons is not a happy thought if you are a patient about to drift off under anesthetic. If the frequency of honking from passing vehicles was an indicator of support, then it was evident that the public support the strike.

This pay cut is part of a systematic squeeze on our public servants. Secretaries of State don't simply impose pay cuts on those who in our mind save our lives. Just like the Fire Service before, they dress it up as remuneration refinement to make an overall saving in wages. I chatted at length to one of the strikers who was in his final year as junior doctor. He saw it the same way as I did. He also predicted that that the new contracts would simply be imposed - which they were the day after. 

In attempting to win the argument Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt misquoted data regarding hospital deaths at weekends. Watching Jeremy Hunt on the Andrew Marr show was the extra inspiration I needed to take that detour and join the strikers on Wednesday 10th February.

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Standing up for what matters