Striking junior doctors plan march to St Paul’s Cathedral for NHS protest vigil

Junior doctos on strike in London

Junior doctos on strike in London - Credit: Archant

Angry hospital doctors from all over east London are holding a protest march from Whitechapel this evening as part of the nationwide ongoing dispute with the government over new NHS contracts.

Junior doctos on strike in London

Junior doctos on strike in London - Credit: Archant

They assemble outside the old Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel Road at 5pm, for a banner procession to St Paul’s Cathedral where they stage a candlelit vigil on the steps in protest over the controversial junior doctors’ contracts being imposed on them.

They started industrial action yesterday, after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt halted talks with the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, and was set to impose the new contracts from August.

The doctors are providing only emergency care for 48 hours until 8am tomorrow, the first of three industrial actions before August.

It is the first time junior doctors have invoked strike action in more than 40 years, following two years of deadlock negotiations between the BMA and NHS employers.

They balloted for industrial action by an overwhelming 98 per cent if agreement could not be reached.

Changes to their rotas will have a bad impact on crisis areas that are already struggling to recruit and retain staff, they maintain, putting the public “at risk” by forcing through what the doctors see as unfair and unsafe working contracts.

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A Mori poll on February 7 found 66 per cent of the public supporting the junior doctors’ strike.

Picket lines in east London last month and a protest carol rally in Whitechapel at Christmas (pictured) were heavily supported by patients, teachers, trade unionists and NHS campaigners who also plan to join doctors on this-evening’s 5pm march.