Today, junior doctors from Colchester General Hospital joined many from across the country in protest. They stood outside the hospital on the picket line in support of the strike organised by the BMA. This strike is like no other done before as the junior doctors have not only removed themselves from general care, but also from the emergency wards. This hasn’t been done in the whole of NHS’ 68-year history.
The doctors on the picket line were very clear about their message. “I would like to ask him (Mr Jeremy Hunt) if he came in and need an operation would he want it done by me when I’m absolutely knackered been working, 70 hours a week at 3 o’clock, on a Saturday morning or would he rather have me a little bit more fresh and able to actually give him the right drugs in the right order.” – Rob Derrick, 32, a junior doctor for five years.
Stephanie Riding, 24, a foundation year one junior doctor joined the picket line at 9am this morning and believes that NHS staff are being spread thinly already and the length of shifts are unbelievably tiring. “Sometimes on a 9am until 9pm shift you won’t get a break until 5 in the evening and even then you only get half an hour”
“Very often, I have seen colleagues, and I have done it myself, where you’ll have written in the wrong notes or discharged somebody under the wrong patient’s name, thankfully I have been able to rectify these mistakes but it’s worrying how tired you actually get.”
“We work to the point where we could make a really bad mistake and it might be rectified in time, this is why I’m here today because it’s so worrying.”
“We are just human; yes we know we made the sacrifice and yes we did sign up for this but we did not sign up to have our contracts changed like this, you can’t just implement these changes like a dictator and expect us to me okay with it.”
Charlie Mukherjee, 31, Medical and Geriatric Registrar has been in the profession for 7 years and has been fully affected by the Government’s changes throughout the years. “Recruitment is bad and it’s getting worse, year on year there are more gaps in rotas and less staff to fill them.”
“I have had friends in this profession who have upped and left to Australia, who have gone to the city to pursue other avenues of in command, other friends who, on the way back from a night shift, not made it home.”
The public were full of support at the picket line with lots of drivers tooting their horns as they pass, including ambulances, a fire engine and a bus driver. One passer-by even bought the doctors doughnuts, which were very well received.