Doctors stage Christmas rally at Royal London over NHS contracts—with carols and mince pies
PUBLISHED: 16:08 18 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:08 18 December 2015
Keep Our NHS Public campaign
Junior doctors staged a Christmas rally outside the old Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel last night over their dispute with the NHS.
They are opposed to new contracts Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants to impose which they say makes working hours longer.
The 100 protesters handed out mince pies to passers-by in the Whitechapel Road and sang carols with alternative words, accompanied by a festive brass and woodwind band.
The Junior doctors were supported by local GPs, patients, nurses fighting their own contract campaign, NHS activists and hospital surgeons.
They oppose the new contracts because they remove limits on the hours they would be required to work, making it “unsafe for patients”.
“Tired staff make poor decisions more likely,” GP Jacky Applebee told the East London Advertiser.
“Other health workers will be next in the firing line if they lose this dispute over safety for patients and fair pay and working conditions.
“Low pay leads to poor morale and people will find jobs abroad or leave medicine altogether—which is not good for patients and not good for the NHS.”
Dr Appleby, 52, an activist with the Keep Our NHS Public campaign who runs Bow’s Tredegar Surgery, joined in the festive mood playing carols on her clarinet while a BMA doctors’ choir sang alternative words.
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The BMA, the doctors’ union, postponed three days of strike action planned in the run-up to Christmas, after the Health Secretary removed his threat to impose the new contracts. Negotiations are continuing into the New Year.