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'This strike is our only option left'

GP trainees say why they are taking industrial action


junior doctors

junior doctors

Dr Renée Hoenderkamp, a GP ST3 trainee, is staging a picket at her workplace the Abbey Medical Centre in northwest London along with two other registrars in the practice

‘We are going to explain the different parts of the proposed contract, that we would work longer hours, which will affect patient safety. That we will get less pay, which is demoralising for an already demoralised group of people. We are hoping patients will be supportive, and so far - because we are wearing our badges - I haven’t had any patient who hasn’t been supportive.

‘We will explain that although health secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to go to Acas, he has refused to remove the threat of imposition of this contract, and that is why we are still on strike.’


 Dr Bea Bakshi is a GP trainee currently training at Northwick Park Hospital and a BMA junior doctor representative for northwest London.

’The Government’s contract proposals will devalue and penalise those doctors working the most onerous shift patterns, weekends and nights.

’There also remains the threat from the Government that doctors won’t be properly compensated for working unsociable hours: again an unacceptable position.

‘Other concerns remain, but what we are talking about is a proposed contract that still doesn’t meet our desire for a principled way forward that is good for patients, fair for junior doctors and good for the NHS.

‘Industrial action is not something any junior doctor takes lightly - and I certainly never thought I would be doing this as a GP trainee - but with the Government’s approach this is our only option left.’


Dr Mohsin Ditta is a GP ST3 trainee in Rotherham and Doncaster

‘I think junior doctors were disappointed that the strike was called off last time at the last minute. I think it is the right thing to do for a number of reasons. The health secretary hasn’t negotiated in good faith with the BMA.

‘This contract has been under negotiation for a number of years and he has continued to disregard the views of junior doctors. Junior doctors feel undervalued and they don’t feel listened to.

‘If this contract was imposed, there would be a brain drain from the UK with great numbers of junior doctors going to work in places like Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Asia.’

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Readers' comments (5)

  • To anyone in England...
    If JH and the Government were TRULY "...going through 'the exhaustive process' of contacting every A&E department in the country to find out whether they will" then 'they' were either lying (!!) or being very inefficient and wasting time and effort (!!!).
    * Any A&E that was open on Christmas day should be open*
    *Any A&E that was open on a summer Bank Holiday should be open*
    *Any A&E that was open on the Extra Bank Holiday for the Queen's Golden Jubilee should be open*
    *Or that was open for the Extra Bank Holiday for when a Prince got married, should be open*
    Basically, if 'they' just asked a doctor (but, why talk to a doctor who know what is going on at the front line!??) they would have saved "an exhaustive process."
    IF you are UNWELL don't fall victim to the Hunt Effect and avoid hospital. If you are unwell - go and seek the treatment, free at the point of care, you need.
    The non-Junior doctors are there to support the patients and keep them safe, not just to support the junior doctors.
    Because ... the intended impact on the public and our patients is not to harm them; it is to bring the impact of concerns about the proposed imposed contract to the government from the people it is 'governing.'
    Junior Doctors are the public too, as are our patients and potential patients - ie ALL of us.
    We - the patients AND the doctors - are the public that can - and needs to - hold a bad policy to account, and prevent it if we can.
    We are not striking to apply pressure for MORE money than we already get (even if on principle some doctors and non-doctors alike DO feel that more pay is appropriate - that is another issue).
    The junior doctors welcome any unity and support from the rest of our community - we are also, in the end, patients, or relatives of patients, and taxpayers and voters too. Just like everyone else.
    However, the Junior Doctors in England also humbly acknowledge the inconvenience and impact to non-doctors who had waited for an outpatient clinic appointment, or an outpatient procedure. And now, you have to wait longer, or accept a re-scheduling.
    For that there are apologies. Many, many honest, humble apologies - the hope is they are worth something. This is a cost to our patients, our fellow normal person.
    The hope is that this particular cost to the fellow normal person - in the long run - IS paid off by preventing a deterioration in the existing care provision in the NHS.
    It is paid off in the long run by preventing a precedent where it is ok to impose a contract on public servants.
    It is paid off in the long run by preventing a precedent for the imposition of work-structures that are worse than the existing one, both in terms of fairness to staff, and safety for the patients.
    It is paid off in the long term by preventing a precedent that suggests any employee must accept an imposed paycut.
    It is paid off, in the long term, by preventing an intervention by government that has a very real potential to render the NHS entirely unable to function as it should.
    So... my plea to anyone willing to listen to our very real, very practical (and, in my opinion, very valid) concerns:
    Support the NHS
    Support and talk to the Junior Doctors
    Support and talk to the Student Nurses
    But don't be a 'victim' of the Hunt Effect on the days of the Junior Doctors' strikes.

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  • There are other options:

    Juniors should resign and come back as locums or agency doctors – name your price and work hours. When there is mass resignation you can only win as market forces apply. Agency work with nurses etc. is straining Mr Hunt’s NHS, you can do the same.

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  • Absolute support
    Stay strong and persist
    Your cause is just
    You are fighting for the survival of the profession and the NHS
    Failure will lead to a catastrophic workforce crisis
    Absolute support

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  • This comment has been moderated

  • Vinci Ho

    Action and reaction; particle and anti-particle ; matter and anti-matter.
    That's why I said it was absolutely the 'right' for these Tories to say that you guys would lose at the end and they would not back down.
    One day of politics is too long: today the first missle was fired , two more bigger ones are coming . Agent Hunt, please carry on and guys, look after him well....

    ''But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression.''
    John Locke

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  • Vinci Ho

    And I think the sad pass away of David Bowie yesterday was a sign considering how much did he inspire young people in his time.
    Doctors have to look after their patients but they have to look after themselves. The lyrics of Queen and Bowie's wonder song 'Under Pressure' rang in the head all night:

    'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word
    And love dares you to care for
    The people on the edge of the night
    And love dares you to change our way of
    Caring about ourselves
    This is our last dance
    This is our last dance
    This is ourselves
    Under pressure
    Under pressure

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