Junior doctors' protest NHS 

MA coursework 2015

Thousands of people gathered on Parliament Square yesterday evening in protest against the new Junior Doctor contract that the Department of Health (DOH) plans to introduce in August 2016. 


The DOH plans to cut junior doctor’s pay by 15 percent and to remove the 60-hour cap on junior doctors a maximum working week. This means junior doctors may be forced into working long and unsafe hours. Protesters argued how this will place junior doctors in a vulnerable position to exploitation and will place patients at greater risk. It will also become more difficult to recruit and retain doctors. 


Erin Blake, a medical student at University College London (UCL), said 4,500 people had clicked attending on the Facebook group prior to the event. After the British Medical Association’s (BMA) meeting to discuss the contract was cancelled, an official, who prefers to remain unnamed, said they expected only 700-800 people at the demonstration. By 7pm, however, approximately 3,000 people were gathered outside the Houses of Parliament. 


The protest moved from Parliament Square to Downing Street and circled back again whilst protesters shouted, “not safe, not fair, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care” and waved signs reading, “protect our pay” and “stop bleeding our NHS dry”.   


Dr Olwen Griffin was one of the protesters. She feared for the future security of her daughter who has nearly finished her medical training at university. Dr Olwen Griffin explained that her daughter frequently had to do 14-hour shifts and had been known to work a 90-hour week. She said: “it’s criminal what’s been done. People will leave England. We are going to lose those that have specialised, and they are the ones we can’t fill training places for, General Practice (GP), A+E and anaesthetics.”