Crowds of dissatisfied junior doctors today insisted that the government reconsider plans for a new contract which they believe will lead them to work more hours for less pay.
Over 70 hospital staff and supporters gathered around the entrance to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre today, as car horns beeped and cheered them on.
Junior doctors criticised health secretary Jeremy Hunt for his role in the changes, which would involve the creation of a ‘seven day NHS’.
One junior doctor at QMC, who asked not to be named, said: “Despite their spin, the government are only making matters worse, so we are trying our absolute best to get a safe fair contract that will protect doctors and patients.
“There was some progress but it was vetoed by Jeremy Hunt. They spread lies that they are trying their best to negotiate, but it is not true.”
Some medical students have expressed concern about the welfare of patients, as well as staff.
Josh Gibbard, 20, a final year medical student at the University of Nottingham, said: “I fully support the strikes – the changes Jeremy Hunt is trying to implement show just how out of touch he is, and they pose serious risks to the general public who could end up being treated by completely exhausted, overworked junior doctors.”
During the strikes, over 400 junior doctor at Nottingham University Hospitals are striking.
As a result, 27 patients have had their operations cancelled and 273 have had their outpatient appointments cancelled.
“Having junior doctors away from hospital could put patients’ lives at risk”
Grace Bisola Alabi, 23, of Victoria Halls, Nottingham, said: “I understand where they are coming from in terms of why they would want to strike, as their wages aren’t increasing, but there hours are getting longer.
“However not having them in hospital, on days that they strike, could put their patients’ lives in danger.”
Nicky Hill, director of human resources at Nottingham’s QMC, said: “We continue to work with consultants, nurses and wider teams across the Trust to ensure that care is delivered to patients as normal during the strike.
“We would advise patients to check our website and local media up to the day of the strike for the latest position. We would also like to urge the public to help us during the strike by ensuring elderly and vulnerable friends and relatives know what to do if they need medical care during the strike and by only using emergency hospital services if they really need them.
“We recognise and value the crucial contributions of our junior doctors and acknowledge their right to strike over their concerns about the proposed new contract.”