St George’s striking junior doctors implore hospital bosses to back them

Striking junior doctors in Tooting are calling on St George’s Hospital bosses to back them as their call has been backed by more than 2,400 petition signatures.

Yesterday they were campaigning outside Tooting Broadway Tube station, just a few hundred yards from the hospital.

The hospital’s chief executive Miles Scott came under fire from Claire McBrien, 30, a striking registrar from Southfields, for failing to support them.

She accused him of backtracking on his support for the new contract that the government are imposing after he described it as ‘fair’ from an employer’s point of view.

Dr McBrien said: “It’s an interesting use of the term ‘fair’.

“It’s a kick in the teeth when your health ministers and government look at you and say that you have no vocation, you’re working a Monday to Friday service and you’re not doing patients a service.

“My sister is a doctor and she’s moving to Canada. This is real, this is happening – people are leaving and we don’t want to because we love the NHS.”

This week’s 48-hour strike, which began at 8am on Wednesday, is the longest yet in the bitter dispute between the British Medical Association and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Shvuthi Konda, 33, a striking registrar said: “I work more unpaid hours than paid hours.”

Although St George’s chief executive said he supported the junior doctor contract, but not the government’s move to force its implementation.

junior doctor strike tooting sign

Mr Scott said: “You may have read that I was one of 20 chief executives referenced in a letter from NHS chief negotiator Sir David Dalton to the Secretary of State regarding the Junior Drs contract negotiations.

“I was happy to contribute my views to David Dalton and his team. I supported him in making an improved offer over the last week and agree that the final offer was fair and reasonable.

“I am very sorry that this has not provided the basis for an agreement with the BMA. It has been for the Secretary of State to decide how to respond to the failure of the talks.

“To be clear, I supported the contract offer but not the imposition.”

The main point of contention is that the contract redefines social hours to cover 7am-10pm from Monday to Saturday, extending doctors’ core hours while doctors say they are already overworked and the move would endanger patients as well as mean a real time pay decrease of 26%.

Despite Jeremy Hunt’s assurances that junior doctors wouldn’t work consecutive weekends, many junior doctors have been sharing their rotas online that show three working weekends in a row.

A poll released yesterday showed that public support for striking doctors is on the rise, with 65% being sympathetic towards their aims.

The number of people strongly against the strike has fallen from 22% to 17%, despite this week’s wave of strikes.

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