Jeremy Hunt closed his door to junior doctors, so they’re literally camping outside it (IMAGES/VIDEO)

Support us and go ad-free

A group of junior doctors are now camping outside the Ministry of Health in efforts to encourage Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resume talks and avoid planned strike action.

There is an ongoing crisis unfolding within the NHS, which is being exacerbated by the Conservative government. As my colleague Bex Sumner wrote earlier this year:

The NHS is in the middle of both a staffing crisis and a financial crisis. Across the country, tens of thousands of doctor and nursing posts remain vacant. Hospitals find themselves unable to fill their rotas, meaning that remaining doctors and nurses have to work extra shifts to cover the gaps. While thousands leave the profession – or the country – many of those who remain are depressed, exhausted and burnt out.

On top of this, Jeremy Hunt is planning to make things even worse my imposing new and unfair contracts on junior doctors which reduce their pay and increase their hours. Not only is this a bad deal for doctors, but for patient safety too.

After Mr Hunt ruled out the possibility of further talks, the doctors are now literally sleeping on the street outside his office overnight, in a bid to bring him back to the table. A table they have set up, even providing him with his own chair.

The mainstream media seems to have mostly overlooked the occupation, (with the notable exception of the Independent) seemingly taking sides with an intransigent government over NHS staff. Meanwhile on social media, the images were being shared and circulated by a supportive public at the hashtag #TimeToTalk.

Dr Rachel Clark and Dr Dagan Lansdale nestled into their sleeping bags outside the Ministry of Health on Wednesday night, tweeting at Jeremy Hunt to come outside to speak with them.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The pair continued to live-tweet their experience of sleeping rough throughout the night.

But by morning, Mr Hunt’s chair remained empty.

So, the team were replaced by fresh recruits and will continue to be until Mr Hunt comes to speak.

But while Mr Hunt was rumoured to have slipped out the back door in order to avoid the doctors, others came by to show their support.

It is a truly sorry state of affairs when a government becomes so far removed from the people affected by their policies, that such extreme measures have to be taken to force the issue. As Dr Clarke explains:

I’ll be honest. My most militant act at home recently was staying up beyond midnight watching Parks and Recreation, with an actual cup of tea in my bedroom.

So why on earth have I just started a permanent protest outside the Department of Health, sitting in position at a table outside until Jeremy Hunt agrees to re-open talks? Why have I decided to stay there for 24 hours at a time, before swapping in other doctors to carry on the protest in 12-hour stints?

Because, in many ways, having Jeremy Hunt as my Secretary of State has begun to feel like dating the Wolf of Wall Street.

She runs through the litany of issues at play in the NHS today, which are dragging down staff morale and standards of care. Yet, instead of working with junior doctors to resolve these issues, the experience of NHS staff is that Mr Hunt is ploughing on regardless.

That’s right. Two weeks before the UK’s first ever all-out doctors’ strike, Mr Hunt’s response to the crisis has been to close off any hope of dialogue with the curt statement that his door is now firmly ‘closed’.

And so, the junior doctors that have undergone seven years of training to earn their posts and perform some of the most critical duties in the NHS – are forced into a position of an all out strike, and the occupation of the Ministry of Health. The Canary supports our junior doctors, and so should anyone who believes in the future of the NHS.

Get Involved!

Sign the 38degrees petition to support junior doctors here.

Follow and share the occupation at #TimeToTalk

Join the People’s Assembly March on Downing Street to call for the resignation of David Cameron on Saturday 16th April.

Featured Image via Twitter


Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed