NHS STAFF have been out in Manchester today to reassure the public over planned strike action on Tuesday.

Hospital staff from Greater Manchester held a ‘Meet The Doctors’ event at Piccadilly Gardens.

For the first time in 40 years, junior doctors will strike over changes to their contracts.

If implemented, the changes will see the number of hours currently deemed ‘sociable’ to be increased, meaning doctors will be facing a pay cut for these hours.

Junior Doctors Strike Placard

New shift patterns will also see doctors stretching out services across longer hours, prompting fears for patient welfare.

They argue that the Government’s proposed plans for contract changes for junior doctors, and a seven day NHS, will be unsafe for patients and unfair to doctors.

Mary Gee, 27, wants to reassure the public that she is striking for the right reasons. She, like many of her colleagues, is concerned about how thinly spread services will become if the changes are implemented.

She said: “It’s an unsafe contract with long, dangerous hours. If the government go through with this, it’ll be a stepping stone to redo everyone else’s contracts.”

Mary wants the public to know that the NHS is already a seven day organisation.

Mary Gee (left) at the Piccadilly Gardens event
Mary Gee (second from right) at the Piccadilly Gardens event

She added: “We know it exists. We work it. Jeremy Hunt is scaremongering. A patient of my colleague’s wouldn’t be admitted on a Friday because they were scared.

“Statistics show you are more likely to die on a Wednesday, rather than a Sunday as the government has said.

“We’re not doing it for money. We could do other jobs for better hours and more money.”

Max Thoburn, 24, became a junior doctor 18 months ago.

He said: “We’re battling for patient safety, fair pay and decent conditions to work in.

Max Thoburn, junior doctor
Max Thoburn, junior doctor

“The proposed plans take away patient monitoring and impact patient safety.

“They threaten the future of the NHS.”

Emma Runswick, 20, is a medical student at the University of Manchester. She said: “A seven-day NHS already exists: it’s open for people who are ill all the time.

“The proposed changes are an attack on paying conditions, part of some agenda to cut and privatise.

“The Government seek to shift the burden of austerity onto individuals who have no part in the crisis.”

Junior doctors will take strike action on Tuesday, January 12 after 98 per cent of British Medical Association (BMA) members backed the strikes in a ballot.

By Adam John

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