Fringe Box



Public Show Support for Striking Doctors at The Royal Surrey

Published on: 26 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 26 Apr, 2016
The junior doctors' picket line at the Royal Surrey County Hospital this morning.

The junior doctors’ picket line at the Royal Surrey County Hospital this morning.

The junior doctors strike at the Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH), which commenced at 8am today (April 26), was attracting public support this morning but planned treatments and operations have been significantly affected.

The stoppage affects A&E, maternity and intensive care for the first time.

Only one member of the public spoken to said he was against the strike. Many of those entering the hospital and passing the strikers’ picket line offered comments of support, some stopping to sign a petition. A number of car drivers expressed their support by sounding their horns as they passed.

Many car drivers hooted their support for the strikers as they passed.

Many car drivers hooted their support for the strikers as they passed.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed disappointment that the national stoppage was taking place, but again said the government would not back down and halt the imposition of the new contract.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hunt said it was a: “very, very bleak day” for the NHS, and that no union had the right to stop a government trying to act on a manifesto promise.

“The reason this has happened is because the government has been unable to negotiate sensibly and reasonably with the BMA.”

On the picket line this morning, junior doctors Ellie Galloway and ...

On the picket line this morning, Royal Surrey junior doctors Ellie Galloway and Dominic Moore

On the picket line at the RSCH, Ellie Galloway, a junior doctor who qualified in 2010 and is still training to be a GP, said: “We are on strike today because we feel passionately that this contract shouldn’t be imposed and we are very concerned about the implications if it is.

“The problem is that we are already extremely overworked in the five days we are scheduled to do and we are expected to continue that care for a further two days. It is just not deliverable in a safe way.

“There is already proper coverage, seven-days-a-week, for emergency care and for anybody that’s sick. A lot of the things that have been said by Jeremy Hunt are not accurate. He has misrepresented the original research.”

Emergency cases were still arriving by ambulance this morning but when asked about the level of service, crew members said that they were not allowed to comment to the press.

Emergency cases were still arriving by ambulance this morning but when asked about the level of service, crew members said that they were not allowed to comment to the press.

Emergency care is still being provided by consultants and doctors who are not in the BMA, or classed as junior doctors. Anyone who is unwell or a casualty will still be treated. But there has been an impact on routine care and clinics.

651 outpatients appointments have been cancelled but 2,078 were going ahead. Normally, the hospital carries out 60 planned operations per day but the vast majority of those are understood to have been postponed, according to a RSCH spokesperson.

Asked if her strike action troubled her conscience, Dr Galloway said: “I think our consciences are always troubled by anything that isn’t optimal care but the fact is that at the moment we are not always able to offer that because of the staffing levels.”

Dominic Moore, another junior doctor added: “What has not really been emphasised is that any potential risk, we feel is extremely low – it is probably one of the best days of the year to come to the hospital because the whole place is being staffed by consultants. We are comfortable that everyone will be receiving a high quality of care.

“We accept that a lot of the non emergency side of things will go down today but the point is that the contract and the general thrust of government policy to introduce this so called seven-day NHS, is more of a risk than our strike, a point that is not often conveyed in the media.

“We don’t want to strike; I would rather do anything else. I got out of bed this morning feeling sick about the idea but we don’t feel that we have any other option.”

Francesca Casey a young mother from Bramley, accompanied by her three young children said: “I think they should do it. I do think that they should be paid more money. I don’t think that they get paid enough for the hours that they do. They seem to work harder than the more senior doctors. when you come to A&E it’s the junior doctors that you see.

When asked how concerned she was about a seven-day-a-week service, she added: “It is not very good. At my doctor’s surgery you can’t get a doctor’s appointment quickly, you have to go and see a duty doctor. I don’t think the new contract will help and I don’t trust the government on this.”

Helene Kelso from Merrow, a former nurse who used to work at the RSCH, said: “I do support them but I think they are on the brink of losing support from the majority of the public. Opinion might turn against them if it carries on too long. I do think they are poorly paid for what they do.”

Only one man spoken to, an older man from Bellfields, who did not wish to give his name, was against the strike. He said: “They signed up to be doctors and they should keep working. They want more money and better hours but when I first started work we had low wages and I had to do what I was told.”

The walkout ends at 5pm today with further all-out action due to take place tomorrow, Wednesday (April 27).

See also: Local Hospital Advises Patients What To Do During Doctors’ Strike




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Responses to Public Show Support for Striking Doctors at The Royal Surrey

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    April 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I am 100 per cent behind our junior doctors. They are a precious resource and it seems to me that the government will be happy for them all to leave the NHS and work elsewhere.

    I see the government is in discussion with a company in India to recruit doctors to work in our NHS. One cannot help but think this is all part of a plan to undercut their wages and working conditions.

    They are already doing it to the nurses – and then we wonder about immigration. It is not EU freedom of movement, it is this sort of government policy to buy on the cheap and blame things on the EU we should be aware of.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    April 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I fully support the doctors because I cannot stand it when a person says, ‘You will accept this – no discussion” and “do as your told”. If you are in the military okay but in civilian life discussion and reasonableness is the way forward, not imposition and dictatorship, commonly known as bullying.

    Who on earth has an 80 page employment contract? I have never had more than four pages, including my government based apprenticeship ‘deeds’.

    I think Mr Hunt should go back to the school of ‘how to be in charge’ and resit his exams in psycholgy and people skills and perhaps a revision on word reduction on contracts.

    Once he has learnt to be in charge then both sides can explain their difficulties and perhaps even compromise. Nothing good ever comes from a dictatorial approach to a problem.

  3. Sue Fox Reply

    April 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I fully support the doctors’ strike. Yesterday we were driving back from Epsom and Radio 4 was discussing the strike. Many of the anti comments were from shift workers who didn’t seem to understand that the ‘junior’ doctors are trained for a long time, they don’t just walk into the hospitals and start to practice.

    As the daughter of a female hospital pharmacist called out over Christmas on occasion I have every sympathy with those wanting to live a life.

    I don’t understand why Jeremy Hunt thinks that he can enforce a manifesto commitment when 60% of the electorate voted for other parties [anyway, how many people read the manifesto?]. There is only one answer to an enforced contract and that is to say, “No Thank you!”

    If there are no NHS doctors then where will we be?

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