Support the Junior Doctors

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Letter from Jane Basham, Vice Chair, South Suffolk Labour Party, published in EADT Saturday 16 January 2016


Sir

On Tuesday, for the first time in forty years, junior doctors across the country went on strike, including at our West Suffolk and Ipswich Hospitals. I had the privilege of working closely with junior doctors when I worked at both these hospitals. I know they are paid less than many other graduates, and work long and unsocial hours. You have to have a medical degree before you can be a junior doctor and this can take between five to six years to achieve.  The starting pay of a junior doctor is £22,636  rising to £30,000 within four years.  Those in specialist training receive between £30,002 and £47,175. The details of the deal being proposed by the Government are complex.  But this dispute is not really about pay.  These doctors, striking reluctantly, are doing so to protect and defend our NHS. It is under attack by this Government.  Important protections for doctors, and ultimately patients, enshrined in the European Working Time Directive in terms of long working hours are about to be scrapped. The NHS is being starved of cash in real terms; student nurse bursaries axed; pay frozen; services and assets sold off to private interests; hard working compassionate doctors bad-mouthed.  So, please don’t blame the doctors if your operation was delayed this week. Blame this Government.

Jane Basham


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