Junior doctors restart action

Submitted by AWL on 14 September, 2016 - 10:21 Author: Charlotte Zalens

Junior doctors will strike over the government’s imposition of an unfair, and unsafe contract on 5, 6, 7, and 10-11 October.Further five-day, all-out strikes on 14-18 November and 5-9 December are planned if the imposition of the contract is not halted.

A number of Constituency Labour Parties have submitted a motion on the NHS to Labour Party conference (24-28 September). The motion would commit Labour to “wholeheartedly supporting junior doctors’ and health workers’ fight to defend themselves and the NHS.”

The fight against privatisation and to renationalise the NHS must include workers’ struggles as well as those of community groups against hospital closures and privatisations. The junior doctors’ fight is our fight.

Labour and Momentum activists can show their support for junior doctors and for the strikes in October by organising visits to local hospitals and meetings to meet and talk to junior doctors ahead of the strike.They can also organise for emails of support to be sent to the BMA from local labour movement organisations.Junior doctors are right to fight the imposition of a contract that aims for Jeremy Hunt’s so-called “seven-day NHS”.

On Sunday 11 September Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers (the organisation that represents hospitals in England) said that a 7-day elective NHS is impossible with current funding levels. He also said that “unless urgent funding is provided [hospitals] will have to cut staff, bring in charges or introduce “draconian rationing” of treatment, for example, of non-urgent operations.”

80% of England’s acute hospitals are in financial deficit, compared with 5% three years ago. Missed A&E waiting time targets have risen from 10% to 90%. This is a service that cannot be spread thinner to cover elective care on the weekend.The Junior doctors. Union, the British Medical Association (BMA) had called a strike for 12-16 September. This was called off over fears about patient safety. An onslaught of negative coverage in the press has complicated, confused the issues and scared some junior doctors.Confidence needs to be rebuilt among junior doctors who have shown by voting for action that they are not happy with the imposed contract and want to fight it.

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