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Junior doctors' strike: "We're at a tipping point over unsafe contracts"


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Thousands of junior doctors are returning to work after two days of industrial action. The strikes were held over disputes on working conditions and pay in new contracts.

It was a historic 'all-out' strike, including for the first time junior doctors providing emergency care. Less intensive strike action was held earlier in the year.

James Crane (pictured), a diabetes registrar at St. Thomas' Hospital in central London, spoke to The National Student about what the strike action meant to him: “Earlier on this year Jeremy Hunt decided he was going to impose a contract on us that we feel is unsafe.”

“It also introduced working practices that did not enable us to provide safe care for our patients and will lead to [...] working patterns that are unsustainable for junior doctors.”

Crane said those striking regret having to cancel outpatients’ appointments and elective surgeries, but that “without causing a degree of disruption, we’re unable to get through to the Department of Health.” 

The proposed new contracts could potentially “send junior doctors over a tipping point and [...] reduce the workforce to levels that are unsafe for the future care of patients”, Crane warned. 

Speaking about what a positive outcome for the junior doctors would look like, the father of two said: “Victory is very simple: for the department of health to return to meaningful negotiations, so we can work together to arrange a safe contract for junior doctors.”

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