Stratford residents Meet The Doctors ahead of strike
PUBLISHED: 11:39 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:39 24 November 2015
Junior doctors took to the streets in scrubs to meet with the public after an overwhelming majority voted for strike action.
Dr Hannah Marshall is one of a dozen doctors from hospitals across east London who hosted the Meet The Doctors event outside Stratford station on Sunday.
“A lot of people wanted to come and show their support, and to take the opportunity to learn about the junior doctor contract argument,” explained the 29-year-old, a paediatrician at Royal London Hospital.
The dispute is over a new contract that British Medical Association (BMA) says is “unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors”. A total of 98 per cent of union members voted for strike action in the nationwide ballot of 37,000 junior doctors.
If the strike goes ahead, only emergency care will be provided by junior doctors for 24 hours from 8am on December 1, while a full walkout is set to take place from 8am-5pm on December 8 and 16.
“No junior doctor started training thinking they’d ever need to strike, we feel that we’ve been backed into a corner by the Department of Health as we are unable to negotiate properly,” said Dr Marshall.
Part of the dispute centres around the proposed contract which would effectively treat Saturday as a weekday.
“This is not a good contract to force upon us, we need to protect the future of the NHS for our patients,” the paediatrician added.
A spokeswoman for Barts Health NHS Trust, the body behind Newham University Hospital, said it was trying to ensure staff could continue to provide “high quality care” to patients on strike days.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the action was “regrettable”.
“We hope junior doctors will consider the impact this action – especially the withdrawal of emergency care – will have on patients and reconsider.”