Sheffield junior doctors vow to continue fight against new contract

By Clarissa Natel @clanatel   

 

Hundreds of people gathered yesterday to support the junior doctors in the first all-out strike in NHS history with protesters warning that they will continue to fight.

Demonstrators crowded Sheffield City Hall and demanded negotiations for the new contract to be re-opened.

The strike lasted 48 hours from 8am to 5pm and concluded yesterday with a few emotional speeches from doctors and nurses affected by the changes.

Speakers had to shout over the rain and protesters chanted the new contract was “not safe and not fair”.

 

One of the speakers, Eliza Ward, said she didn’t see herself as a ‘lady’ doctor until the contract controversially ‘impacted against women’s pay’.

She said: “I feel victimized by the government. I am not collateral damage.”

The new contract was widely criticized for hitting the salaries of women on maternity leave and putting lone parents at a disadvantage.

Another NHS worker, Will Sappers, addressed Jeremy Hunt and said: “It’s 2016, mate, we can’t have a contract that discriminates against women.”

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, didn’t tweet anything following the strike but re-tweeted a statement explaining his plans.

 

Earlier on Tuesday, more doctors picketed outside Hallamshire and Sheffield’s Children Hospital.

Junior doctor Tom, 29, who asked that his full name not be used, said: “This is dangerous. With the new contract we will be too tired to care for the people. Just putting wrong numbers down, simple math, can lead to serious problems for our patients.”

He added: “The changes are not fair. In some cases we will be paid less than minimum wage to work during out of hours. We will be paid 5% less than our normal pay.”

Senior junior doctor Olly, aged 35, who also asked to be anonymous, has been working for the NHS for ten years and said: “It’s a great job to make people better, watch them go home and hear them thank you but its very difficult to feel appreciated when the government tries to undermine what we do and devalues us. We are very disappointed”.

Junior doctor Sarah Alexandra, 27, urged people to continue to trust their doctors and explained the next step:

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