Support the junior doctors

Tuesday 12 January / 10 a.m. / Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ

The junior doctors of the British Medical Association (BMA) are taking strike action for the first time tomorrow, after the Conservative government refused to offer sufficient safeguards for NHS doctors and their patients in the latest negotiations over the doctors' contracts. The Cambridge People's Assembly fully supports their action, and we'd urge anyone who can to visit the doctors' picket at Addenbrooke's Hospital between 8 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. or to join their strike rally there at 10 a.m.

A self-serving device

The government's unsafe, unfair junior contract is a wholly self-serving device. The public doesn't support the Conservatives' project to degrade and quietly privatize the NHS, so as underfunded NHS trusts like Cambridge University Hospitals forecast record deficits, and NHS services across the country are sold off to corporations under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, out-of-hours GP services are the latest to go to tender), the government wants to be seen to make a gesture of commitment to this most valued public service. In July the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, therefore announced he would create the 'seven-day NHS' we already have.

'I've worked nights and weekends for as long as I can remember,' a junior doctor, Nadia, told the Morning Star newspaper after the BMA's 98 per cent vote for strike action in late November.* 'But the government wants to [extend services] without investing in staffing and resources.' The result would be unsafe care from overworked, tired doctors.

The BMA has planned escalating action in January and February if the government still refuses to listen to its members.

  • 12 January. Emergency care only for 24 hours, between 8 a.m. on Tuesday 12 January and 8 a.m. on Wednesday 13 January.
  • 26 January. Emergency care only for 48 hours, between 8 a.m. on Tuesday 26 January and 8 a.m. on Thursday 28 January.
  • 10 February. Full withdrawal of labour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday 10 February.

* Conrad Landin, 'Hunt's Legacy: Doctors' First All-Out Strike', Morning Star, 20 November 2015. The supplied words are ours.

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