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Feeling undervalued, unheard – but determined. Talking to doctors on Bristol’s pickets today.

Today junior doctors in Bristol joined thousands of their colleagues across England in striking against the proposed changes to their contracts by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The Bristol Cable joined one of the pickets…..

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Photos: Dean Ayotte

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Today junior doctors in Bristol joined thousands of their colleagues across England in striking against the proposed changes to their contracts by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The Bristol Cable joined one of the pickets earlier today and spoke to some of the junior doctors about why they were on strike for the second time.

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Dr Lisa Knight

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“All of us are out on strike today because we are all very passionate about the NHS and good care for our patients. We already feel stretched, and this compromises on the important things like being able to spend time with patients and on our training which is what will make us good doctors in the future. I feel very undervalued by the current government who are accusing doctors of just wanting more pay and not listening to what we are fighting for. We have lost trust in the government as we don’t feel they they’re fighting for the things that we are fighting for, which is better care for patients and a sustainable NHS.”

Dr Dan Keith and Dr Claire Youle

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“Jeremy Hunt is scapegoating junior doctors for standing in the way of his plans for a supposed seven day NHS. Junior doctors already work nights and weekends, and are the backbone of the seven day NHS that we already have.”

Dr Kitty Thompson

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“Doctors are fleeing the country and the profession and we’re getting to the point where we don’t have enough doctors to provide a safe service. They’re going to keep leaving if we don’t come up with a solution which is good for everyone, and the future of the NHS is really at stake if we can’t keep doctors, because we are the ones that look after patients.”

Dr Amy Alice Carson and Dr Simon Hall

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“We’re out on the picket today in protest of the government’s plans for the new contract and we are particularly concerned about the removal of safeguards for junior doctors, which means it will be more difficult to hold hospitals to account for pushing staff beyond safe working limits.

We’re also concerned about removal of paid protection for those that will need to take time out, such as those taking maternity leave or carrying out training and research to make them better doctors. We need this diversity in our workforce, and the government doesn’t understand that this issues are important to the morale of the doctors. We feel the changes would be completely unsafe and would push doctors away from working with the NHS and are essentially trying to destabilise the NHS at its core.”

The strike was getting a great deal of support from passing traffic and pedestrians as well as members of Bristol Solidarity Network, The Green Party, Labour, Unison and the Fire Brigades Union who were present on the picket line. The Cable also spoke to one of these supporters about why they had come out:

Councillor Carla Denyer

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“I’ve come out today with other activists to provide some solidaritea (and biscuits) because we’re completely behind the junior doctors today and are here to give them a warm drink on a cold day.”

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