On Sunday the union representing Junior doctors, the British Medical Association, held its second march through Bristol ahead of strike action this Wednesday morning. Once again Bristol AFed and scores of other supporters marched with them, and the response from others in the streets was universally positive.
The BMA’s message is simple, the government is attempting to push through ideologically driven changes to their contracts that will negatively affect not only junior doctors but the level of care they are capable of providing. Junior Doctors can already be called upon to work 70 hour weeks, often in extremely challenging and stressful roles and at nights and weekends. The Tories are seeking not only to cut their pay (whilst they continue to be burdened with an average £100,000 in university debt) but weaken their contracts, forcing unsafe working patterns on essential NHS staff.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt can repeat the words that this is in the best interests of the NHS all he wants – the actions of him and the rest of the government speak far louder that his lies. Him and his cronies want to undermine and break up the NHS, making it that much easier to accelerate privatisation and turn a profit for the rich. Left unchecked they would succeed in destroying the core of what makes the NHS, flaws and all, an institution to be proud of.
Luckily the members of the BMA are standing together and are up for a fight. However they’ll need all the support they can muster to face down the tories and win. A victory here could turn the tide of the damage being done to health care provision in the UK. So if you can spare any time tomorrow between 8am and 6pm get down to the picket lines if at all possible, or give them your support online – and help expose Jeremy Hunt’s lies.
- Picket lines starting at 8am, outside the BRI and Southmead.
- ‘Meet the Doctors’ event at Turbo Island on Stokes Croft from 12pm.
- Picket/Protest will likely continue until at least 6pm outside the main entrance of the BRI.
- Not in Bristol? Find your nearest picket line on the BMA website.
- Can’t make it out? The BMA website also has a ‘get involved’ section including pictures formatted for Social Media, PDF versions of leaflets and posters and other information you can help to spread online.