Words and images by Melisa Numan
Junior doctors in England have begun a three-day strike in protest of inadequate pay and burnout, which threatens to drive staff out of the National Health Service (NHS) as it deals with record-high patient waiting lists.
An estimated 37,000 Junior doctors are said to be taking part in the 72 hour strike. Dozens formed a picket line early in the morning in front of the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
98% of the British Medical Association (BMA) members balloted in favor of the three-day walk-outs in March, making it the longest-ever strike.
The industrial action is expected to hit every NHS trust in England, with healthcare leaders warning of a devastating impact on services – including A&E – which will be left without junior doctors for three days straight.
Dr. Emma Coombe is a junior doctor at Bristol’s Royal Hospital for Children. One of the reasons she is protesting today is because the Government has refused to negotiate with the junior doctors.
“We’re not worth 26% less than a junior doctor was in 2008. We don’t want to be here on the streets.
We want to be in this hospital caring for our patients.”
Dr.Coombe appealed to the public not to hesitate to seek medical help if needed, “If you need care today, please come to the hospital as you usually would. We’ve got consultants, specialty doctors, and associated specialists who are providing emergency and urgent care today.”
Members of the public also showed support at the picket line. One of the people who stopped by at the protest was Louise Bawn, whose mother was admitted earlier in the day, who expressed her gratitude to the NHS workers, who said;
“Without people like this, we wouldn’t have an NHS. The Government needs to put more value on the people that matter. The amount of money they have to spend on their education, the debts they get, and then they’re paid less than a supermarket worker for an hour’s pay is insane.”