5 Days Of Strike Action By The Junior Doctors!

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Frank Sweeney, WRP candidate for Garston, (left) on the picket line supporting the Junior Doctors on strike at Liverpool University Hospital

JUNIOR doctors in England yesterday embarked on a five-day strike, marking the 11th walkout in their prolonged pay dispute.

Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) ceased work from 07:00 yesterday, prompting NHS England to warn of substantial disruption to routine hospital services.
The union has stated that this action is due to the absence of a credible new offer, with the last walkout occurring in February. Although the government and BMA had agreed to independent arbitration in May, this was postponed following the announcement of the election, leading the union to call for the strike.
The BMA is demanding a 35% pay increase to compensate for 15 years of below-inflation pay rises. During this latest strike, junior doctors will withdraw from all services, with senior doctors being brought in to provide cover.
The BMA has placed the responsibility squarely on the government, criticising it for ‘not once making a credible offer’ throughout the dispute. The union has indicated its willingness to accept the 35% pay rise in phases, having initially called for it to be implemented in one go.
All major political parties, including the Conservatives, have expressed a desire to resolve the dispute if they form the next government despite not having done so in 14 years of Tory rule. However, only the Green Party has committed to meeting the demands for a 35% pay increase.
There was a lively picket outside St Ann’s hospital in Tottenham yesterday morning. News Line spoke to Mashal, one of the doctors. She said: ‘It’s been a year and a half and we were hoping to be somewhat further along, but pleased we did get a bit of a pay rise, more than we would have got without the strikes.
‘It’s likely to be a Labour government and Wes Streeting will be the health minister. My message to him, if you want to fix the NHS you have to address pay restoration. You will not cut waiting lists unless you have the staff.
‘The private sector only functions because the NHS trains doctors but every time private care fails the NHS exists as a safety net.’

  • Striking doctors at Royal Liverpool University Hospital warmly welcomed WRP candidate Frank Sweeney on the first day of their five day strike, in the ongoing eight month struggle to win their dispute and defend professional conditions in the NHS.

Ross Nieuwoudt, BMA Co-chair of Mersey Resident Doctors Committee, told News Line: ‘We are out on our first day with a lot of happy faces because doctors have come out to fight for what they believe in.
‘We’d rather be working. We love our jobs and giving care to our patients, but we have been pushed into a corner.
‘What other action can we possibly take when you are actually in negotiations and one side walks out!
‘It’s completely in Rishi Sunak’s power to get this strike called off. It’s not too late!
‘He just has to make a commitment to negotiating on our pay if elected.
‘It would cost him zero pennies, but he is prioritising optics and politics, over doctors, patients and the NHS.
‘That is disgraceful and the reason we have come out on strike! Any support from other workers is very much welcome. We are all patients and we are all responsible to support this strike and the NHS and get things sorted.’
Rona Ayee, Anaesthetist, said: ‘Over the decades our pay has deteriorate. This  strike is also about the attempts to denigrate our profession. We are valued less as a highly trained and experienced workforce.
‘HR (Human Resources) is mishandling the NHS and the impact of the role of Physician Associates is having. It’s a tool that can be used to denigrate doctors by suggesting that all you need to do is “google a diagnosis”.
‘Our strike is in opposition to that. It’s creeping privatisation.
‘I think a general strike would be a good step forwards to the big changes that are needed.
‘Getting the Tories out will create a lot of positivity, but I’m sure any incoming Labour government try to quash it. However, the  BMA is a lot more hawkish than it was last time.’