Liverpool junior doctors tell us their side of the strike

We asked protestors and student medics their opinions

doctors government liverpool LMSS medics NHS protest strike strikes students women

They feel the cuts are “unfair and unworkable”.

Outside the Women’s Hospital, junior doctors gathered this week to protest the changes to their employment contracts proposed by the government.

Strike action outside the Women's (Courtesy of Julia M. Webster, 2016)

Strike action outside the Women’s (Photo: Julia M. Webster, 2016)

There had been talks between the government and the British Medical Association (BMA) but the government withdrew from negotiations in February, denying any further opportunity to discuss the contract changes.

The 48-hour strike happened nationwide, starting on the 6th April. It’s hoped that the BMA hope will bring the government back to the negotiation table.

The Tab spoke to some of the junior doctors outside the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Julia Webster, 28,  a GP trainee, expressed her concern for the well-being of both staff and patients:
“My biggest fear at the moment is not doing right by the patients. I’m terrified to be a part of a system that provides substandard care to people.”

The Royal is being renovated too

Protesting junior doctors also affected the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where 400 appointments and 55 operations were cancelled ahead of the strikes.

Her colleague Liz Jones, 28, is an anaesthetist at the hospital. She felt that the government’s proposals would stretch doctors beyond their means.

“At the moment, there’s already a shortage of doctors. The government’s contract proposals would stretch us too thinly and we’d struggle to carry out procedures safely.

“It’s unfair and unworkable.”

A third year medic student at the University of Liverpool, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Tab:

“As a future doctor and future patient, I fully support the doctors and their strike against contract changes which are in place to demoralize staff, and trigger the dismantling of the NHS.”

Thomas Powell, a 5th year medical student at the University, told us: “The Medical Student community stand with their working colleagues. This contract imposition will affect us just as much if not more than the current workforce, and it is for this reason our resolve is stronger than ever.

“This contract is both unfair and unsafe. It eliminates safeguards designed to protect Junior Doctors, putting patients wellbeing at risk. A sitting Government has never chosen to impose a contract on its NHS workforce without its support, it has never happened. Doctors are going to vote with their feet in the Months and Years to come, and many of my colleagues have jobs lined up in Australia and New Zealand.

“To those that say this dispute is solely about pay are simply wrong. I write this as a Conservative member myself, and I am shocked that my party has had such oversight to not notice just how damaging such a contract will be, not only on patients and the NHS’s resources, but on the welfare of all Doctors; morale has never been lower. The Government is wrong and not only do they know this, the Public knows this too.

“When the government refuses to re-enter fair negotiations, what choice does the profession have?”

NHS England has called the strike action “deeply regrettable” and the government has issued a statement declaring it “irresponsible”.

But with more strikes planned for the end of the month, 26th-27th April, there doesn’t appear to be a clear end in sight for the ongoing dispute.