Just minutes after junior doctors finished their first all-out strike in the history of the NHS on Tuesday thousands of them marched from St Thomas’ hospital in London to Whitehall. Leading the march were Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Corbyn was cheered as he took to the stage to tell the doctors:
Today we are here to show our support for them [junior doctors] and our National Health Service and say to Jeremy Hunt, the NHS is absolutely safe in the hands of those who work in it – the junior doctors who work day in, day out to keep us all safe and healthy. It’s not safe in the hands of a government that is more interested in attacking those who work in the NHS, selling off its assets and destroying the very principles of our National Health Service.
Thousands of junior doctors and teachers were among those marching to Jeremy Hunt’s office at the Department of Health in Whitehall to protest his imposition of the junior doctors’ contract and tell him it was time to talk. But, while Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas were among the protestors, the other Jeremy – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – was nowhere to be seen.
Protesters sang “Where are you, Jeremy?” and Corbyn told the crowd “not all Jeremy’s are bad” and demanded that Hunt “come out of hiding”:
[He has] had every opportunity to negotiate an agreement for the junior doctors… They are the ones who have behaved in a responsible manner, to say they are here to defend the NHS. His response is to try and impose a contract on them. That is no way for a Secretary of State to behave towards one of the most crucial elements of the NHS workforce… The government has an opportunity to settle this, they should get on and do so.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) April 26, 2016
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 26, 2016
— Ron F. (@TheWeeklyBull) April 26, 2016
— Keep Our NHS Public (@keepnhspublic) April 26, 2016
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) April 26, 2016
— Jay Virdee (@jay_virdee) April 26, 2016
78% of doctors in England took part in Tuesday’s strike, the first of a two-day action by doctors. Hospitals reportedly coped well during the strike, as other staff worked longer hours to support their colleagues:
Ahead of the strike Jeremy Hunt preemptively tried to blame junior doctors for risking “the safety of many patients”. However, public opinion still firmly sides with the doctors and Corbyn over Hunt; an Ipsos Mori poll for the BBC found that the majority of the public supports strike action by junior doctors, and 54% blame the government for the dispute while just four percent blame junior doctors.
It’s not hard to see why. Right now the junior doctors are the only thing standing between the Conservative government and the privatisation of the NHS. But with paramedics and teachers considering joining the strikes, and the Leader of the Opposition standing shoulder to shoulder with the doctors, the government has a battle on its hands – and it’s a battle it seems to be losing.
Featured image via Jeremy Corbyn MP/Twitter.
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?