Junior doctors have told of the demoralising impact of the Government’s unwillingness to listen to their concerns on their working conditions.
Trainees attending a picket line at University College Hospital London (pictured) spoke of how the prospect of a contract being imposed upon them had made them consider their futures in the NHS.
The juniors were speaking on the first of two days of industrial action by trainees in England over the ongoing contract dispute.
Clinical fellow in neurology and PhD candidate Lina Carmona said: ‘I know lots of junior doctors who are not applying for training numbers for their [foundation year 1] or their F2 posts simply because they feel what is the point.
'I know a group of [F1s] who are thinking of going to Australia … I’m thinking of changing careers if this contract goes ahead … it’s very depressing.’
Specialty trainee 1 in obs and gynae Charlotte Austen added: ‘It’s been horrendous for our morale. Yesterday I was meant to be on an eight-hour day.
'I worked 12 hours, usually I would do it completely un-begrudgingly but I was checking the clock yesterday … I think everyone is very similar [in that] they are not wanting to give what they have always given.’
Stand up for your right
Specialty trianee 7 in paediatrics Benjamin Cahill said: ‘It’s very difficult when you are trying to stand up for the rights of the people who you look after and you are constantly being told that you are wrong [or] lying.’
He added that after a decade of working as a junior doctor, including spending part of that time working abroad for free, it was depressing to hear suggestions that the dispute was about trainees wanting more money.
Meanwhile, the junior doctors’ contract was debated in Commons today in a session in which health secretary Jeremy Hunt took questions.
Bolsover Labour MP Dennis Skinner, who visited a picket line at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, earlier in the day, attacked Mr Hunt for the ‘mistake’ he had made in imposing a contract, claiming it was being done to avoid premium rates for staff.
In response, Mr Hunt stated that under the new contract, junior doctors were being offered higher premium rates than lower paid nurses and paramedics.
Mr Skinner, and fellow Labour MPs Paula Sheriff, who is a member of the Commons health select committee, and Liz McInnes all wore BMA badges in support of junior doctors in the Commons.
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