I joined Natalie Bennett, Caroline Lucas and Jenny Jones at the junior doctors’ picket line this morning. The government’s attacks on their contracts risk patient safety – and doctors would never take strike action lightly, so they need our support in standing up for everyone’s NHS.
This is our joint statement backing their stance:
We support the junior doctors’ action because they deserve to be treated decently and because a rested and fairly paid NHS workforce is essential to sustain high clinical standards and patient safety.
The threat of strike first came about because the Government refused to drop their imposition of these contracts. Now ministers are failing to address doctors’ serious concerns surrounding safe working conditions, and aren’t offering proper recognition for those working unsocial hours.
We know that doctors take the Hippocratic Oath extremely seriously. They have, reluctantly, been forced to strike because they are not being heard. They have been telling the Health Secretary that this contract change is not just unfair on them but potentially unsafe for patients too. That’s why many consultants are backing the junior doctors too.
If this unfair contract is imposed, we risk more NHS trained doctors leaving for places like Australia where they feel more valued.
Today’s junior doctors are tomorrow’s leaders of the NHS, yet this Government’s intransigence – and their campaign of misinformation- has left junior doctors at the end of their tether. Sadly doctors aren’t unique in suffering because of this Government actions – our health service as whole is under attack. Student nurses have had their grants snatched away – and the costly marketisation of our health service is continuing at speed.
The Government must rethink the way they’re treating our NHS. As a start they should negotiate with the doctors in good faith, and put forward the offer of a contract that is fair and works for staff and patients alike. Until then then we’ll continue to stand in solidarity with the junior doctors as they fight for what’s right.
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader
Caroline Lucas MP
Baroness Jenny Jones AM
Sian Berry, Green Party Candidate for Mayor of London