Junior doctors at Newham University Hospital on strike
PUBLISHED: 10:22 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:09 12 January 2016
Junior doctors at Newham University Hospital are among those to take part in a 24 hour walkout today.
The industrial action was taken by members of the British Medical Association over a long-running dispute with the government over contracts that union members claim would leave them overworked and underpaid.
Doctors gathered outside the hospital’s accident and emergency department from 8am with placards, leaflets and a petition in a bid to raise awareness of their cause.
Simran Singh, a junior doctor currently working in accident and emergency, said the proposals had far-reaching implications.
“It’s not just about us, it affects other staff and patients,” the 25-year-old said.
“How tired is the doctor treating your gran in A+E going to be?”
He added that he wanted to reassure patients that may need medical care during strike action, with a 48 hour walkout planned for Tuesday and another 24 hour strike set for Wednesday, February 10..
“The hospital will not be closing,” he said. “There are senior doctors and consultants on duty, as well as nurses and other staff.”
24-year-old Arrash Yassaee said that he and his fellow junior doctors could be asked to change hospitals every four months and that many were faced with high costs.
“Our exams, which we have to take to progress, cost hundreds,” he said.
“We have to have a car as we often work hours where there is no public transport, and in London especially, it’s an expensive area to live.”
The junior doctors have received support from East Ham MP Stephen Timms.
He said: “Junior doctors have my support. Jeremy Hunt has behaved deplorably, and put young doctors in an impossible position. I would urge the Government, even at this eleventh hour, to start listening to the deep worries the doctors have been voicing over the last few months.”
A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Newham University Hospital, said: “The dispute is between the government and the BMA, and the Trust cannot take sides.
“Junior doctors believe potential changes to their terms and conditions will have a detrimental effect on patient care, training and working conditions in the NHS, and their case is supported by many of our consultants.
“We are listening to what they tell us, and are grateful for their co-operation in seeking to ensure that we continue to provide safe and compassionate care throughout this period.”