Press Release: Doctor strike ballot is a fight for the NHS

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The overwhelming majority of junior doctors voting to take industrial action is the surest sign yet that this government’s treatment of the NHS and its staff will not be tolerated.

 The massive endorsement for industrial action was triggered by government arrogance in pressing ahead with its obsession in making the NHS ‘a 7-day service’ – for no extra cost – and ignoring calls for further talks without preconditions. A preliminary to systematic privatization.

Dr Eric Watts, a former hospital consultant in haematology and Chair of Doctors for the NHS:

“This is a massive endorsement of the junior’s position – we support them in their demand for talks with no preconditions. This shows the commitment that typifies junior doctors: devoted, principled people, prepared to work hard for their patients but realistic and knowing that they are human too.

“They will give what they can but know that burn-out is an all too common reality. Stress-related illnesses affect too many doctors and the stress levels are increasing. This new contract, if applied, almost guarantees that more will suffer.

“DFNHS supports juniors taking a firm and resolute stand in insisting their voice be heard so that the needs of doctors in training are treated properly. There is increasing evidence of the muddled thinking behind the Secretary of State’s declared aim of 7 day working, a term he has never defined. The unprecedented level of rejection of his attempt to impose a contract on junior doctors now threatens serious damage to the NHS and relations with the profession. To avoid this he should now refer the dispute to independent arbitration.

“The years in training are shaping the specialists and GPs of the future. These vital years should not be regarded as an opportunity to undermine the compact of trust between the NHS as an employer and these remarkably dedicated and bright people, as a forerunner to an all-out attack on all NHS staff. We support their stand for conditions to ensure a safe and sustainable service.”


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