We are backing the junior doctors as they fight

Keep Our NHS Public stands alongside the junior doctors as they are forced to strike to defend themselves tomorrow, Wednesday 6 April. And is crystal clear on where the blame lies: firmly with the government.
 
The junior doctors are opposing the undemocratic, bullying decision of Jeremy Hunt to impose the junior doctor contract unilaterally in August. And so, the first of two 48-hour strikes by junior doctors this month commences 8am Wednesday 6th April. Now they will provide emergency cover but they will withdraw that cover for the second 48-hour strike commencing 26 April.
 
Their consultant colleagues will ensure that there is safe and good continuity of emergency services during this action and that emergency patients will not come to any harm.
 
The government must shoulder the responsibility for cancelled non-emergency surgery and outpatient appointments, just as they are responsible for the 70,000 cancelled operations last year for reasons including fragmentation of services worsened by government legislation and underfunding for 6 years in a row.
 
What a failure of government to have driven doctors and the BMA to the point where they have no choice but to strike. The Government’s own Equality Impact Assessment confirms the new contract discriminates against women (over 54% of junior doctors) but attempts to justify that discrimination:
 
‘[A practice] that causes a particular disadvantage is lawful if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’ And what is the government’s ‘legitimate’ aim? – ‘To enable employers to roster doctors when needed across seven days including evenings and weekends more affordably.’ [1]
 
This amounts to using junior doctors as cheap labour and the deregulation and weakening of payment for unsocial hours will roll out rapidly to the rest of the NHS workforce if the doctors lose.
 
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, recently retired as a consultant paediatrician and Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said:  
 
“KONP sees this bitter attack on junior doctors in the wider context of government measures to undermine the NHS as a public service. We call on the Shadow Opposition to unequivocally support the junior doctors in rejecting the imposed contract and to stand up for a return of the NHS to a national public service, fully funded from taxation, and able to provide sufficient doctors and nurses to staff safe public services once again.” [2]

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