Junior Doctors Strike: round-up from picket lines

Today Junior Doctors were on strike against changes to their contracts that will be bad for doctors, patients and the whole NHS. Despite the Tories trying to demonise the doctors, the majority of the public support their strike, and they’ve had a lots of solidarity on their picket lines. Here’s a round up from some of the hospitals around England where people have been out on strike. Many thanks to everyone who has sent in photos and reports  

Lewisham Hospital, South East London

Pickets at Lewisham Hospital (Photo: Matt Collins)

Pickets at Lewisham Hospital (Photo: Matt Collins)

NHS cakes, Lewisham Hospital picket lines (Photo: Mat Collins)

NHS cakes, Lewisham Hospital picket lines (Photo: Mat Collins)

Everyone on the picket really buzzing, loads of public support. Support workers coming off shifts were out giving tea, cakes and solidarity. Everyone agreed its a political struggle for the NHS, and supported the student nurses’ bursary campaign. Most didn’t know about and were pleased to hear of the students plans to walk out of placements on the Feb strike day. Everyone agreed there should be a meeting locally of all staff groups to organise to support each others fights and to plan for consultant contract dispute and agenda for change negotiations. – Matt

John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

Picketing at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Picketing at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Picketing at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Picketing at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Junior Doctors' rally in Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Junior Doctors’ rally in Oxford (Photo: John Walker)

Picketing at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford this morning began at the entrances to buildings on site, until the pickets were moved off Trust property. The picketing them continued by the hospital entrance. At 1pm, there was a rally in Broad Street in the centre of Oxford, which attracted more than 200 people. When this ended, junior doctors broke into groups and spread themselves around the centre of town. – John

 

Tooting Broadway, South London

'Meet the Drs' at Tooting Broadway (Photo: Joe Hayns)

‘Meet the Drs’ at Tooting Broadway (Photo: Joe Hayns)

Went to support the Junior Doctors, largely from St. George’s, at Tooting Broadway Tube. There were approximately 20 when I was there; passing people were generally supportive of strike, though  I was told by one Junior Doctor that a few people had accused them of simply wanting more money (they were unusual, though). Didn’t see any other NHS staff there. Junior doctors seemed committed, and the public were very sympathetic, from what I saw. – Joe

Manchester Royal Infirmary 

Strikers at Manchester Royal Infirmary (Photo: Tom Haines-Doran)

Strikers at Manchester Royal Infirmary (Photo: Tom Haines-Doran)

80-100 on picket line at Manchester Royal Infirmary with several union banners. After most supporters left to go to work, 50 or so junior doctors were still on the picket line. Chatting with a group of anaesthetists, they said their consultants were very supportive, more or less telling them they’d better not turn up for work or else. All denied being ‘political activists’, but went on to compare their treatment with that of the bankers, and saw their struggle as part of the fight to defend the NHS. They have no direct links with student nurses, whose struggle over bursaries they support – they thought this lack of links was a weakness. Very welcoming to ‘outside support’ from other trade unionists, who they thought were better organised and more experienced than they were themselves. – Colin

Mark, a Junior Doctor (Photo: Tom Haines-Doran)

Mark, a Junior Doctor (Photo: Tom Haines-Doran)

 

Mark, a Junior Doctor in Blackburn had the day off anyway, but came down to the Manchester Royal Infirmary picket line to support his colleagues. Mark works in A&E. ‘Because of the cuts in and out of the NHS people end up at A&E eventually. And because of the cuts to social care, it’s difficult to free up beds. This isn’t about more money; it’s about stopping a pay cut and protecting the service.’ – Tom

St Mary’s Hospital, London

Medical students join the picket lines at St Mary's hospital

Medical students join the picket lines at St Mary’s hospital

Picket lines at St Mary's hospital

Picket lines at St Mary’s hospital

 

Leeds

Striker at Leeds Infirmary

Striker at Leeds Infirmary (Photo: Leeds rs21)

There were pickets at all of the entrance of the Leeds hospitals from 8.00 am onwards this morning. At the same time, in the city centre, teams of doctors and their supporters were dishing out stickers and signing people up to their petition. At lunchtime it appeared that spring had come early with the blue-green shoots of solidarity strike stickers that seemed to be on every other coat lapel. Outside the big Boots people stood queuing in a biting wind just to sign the petition and swap words of support with the strikers. At the Leeds General Infirmary the doctors were joined by around 20 UCU members from Leeds University and tales of woe were swapped about casual contracts, low pay and job insecurity.

The mood of the pickets was both bouyant and defiant and there was a growing mood of confidence as the growing sound of passing car horns on occasion assumed the proportions of a cacophony. But at the same time the strikers expressed a grim sense of reality that a further 48 hour stoppage would probably be needed to take the dispute further- and they were under no illusions that the Tories would attempt to ratchet-up press hostility with inevitable tales of patient suffering. Nevertheless, at this first stage of what could become an all-out battle, public opinion is firmly one of the junior doctors fight being part of the vital struggle to defend the NHS.   – Brian

 

 

Kings College Hospital, South London

Kings College Hospital pickets (Photo: Fraser Anderson)

Kings College Hospital pickets (Photo: Fraser Anderson)

Oma, a junior at KCH doctor told me: “I was working all of this weekend, 12 hour shifts which as ever were actually 13-14 hour shifts. I work weekends and nights standardly. I don’t have the time to see my friends and relatives. I love what I do, but Jeremy Hunt is devaluing it. I am LOVING the strike though. It is so great that everyone came out and we are standing together. None of us wanted to do this, but we had to. We’re getting loads of support and toots from passers by. Feeling really optimistic and positive about the future!” – Fraser

 

Carlisle Infirmary

Pickets at Carlisle Infirmary (Photo: Joe Sabatini)

Pickets at Carlisle Infirmary (Photo: Joe Sabatini)

Rally at Carlisle Infirmary (Photo: Joe Sabatini)

Rally at Carlisle Infirmary (Photo: Joe Sabatini)

Very heartening in Carlisle. 30+ well organized doctors who knew their rights and had the full support of consultants to be there. There was a strong speech by one local junior doctor and constant beeps and support from cars driving past.

We mobilized 20+ members of the public within 24 hours. Our support event was promoted (also within 24 hours) by PCS, TUC, Greens, Labour, local Socialists, Cumbria for Corbyn, RMT, transition movement, People’s Assembly. We coordinated media coverage and ensured a large group was present when local press arrived. There was good knowledge of the issues, intelligent, lively discussions. We have established ways to communicate better with organizers for the next strikes and ensure mass public support. – Hazel 

South Kensington

'Meet the Drs' at South Kensington Tube (Photo: Amy Gilligan)

‘Meet the Drs’ at South Kensington Tube (Photo: Amy Gilligan)

'Meet the Drs' at South Kensington Tube (Photo: Amy Gilligan)

‘Meet the Drs’ at South Kensington Tube (Photo: Amy Gilligan)

Around 30 Junior Doctors from Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Brompton and Royal Marsden Hospitals were outside South Kensington Tube leafleting the public, while others were maintaining picket lines at the hospitals. They said that people had been 100% supportive, and there were lots of supportive honks from cars and buses while I was there. They wanted to counter negative things in the media about the strike: “I’m not particularly political, but then when you know a lot about something you realise how much spin and lies there is, so we’re trying to challenge that”, one Junior Doctor told me. She also said that having support from consultants and senior staff in the hospital had given them lots of confidence to be out today. – Amy

Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

Pickets at Great Ormond Street (Photo: Sara Bennett)

Pickets at Great Ormond Street (Photo: Sara Bennett)

Pickets at Great Ormond Street (Photo: Sara Bennett)

Pickets at Great Ormond Street (Photo: Sara Bennett)

North Middlesex University Hospital

North Middlesex University Hospital pickets (Photo: Jonny Jones)

North Middlesex University Hospital pickets (Photo: Jonny Jones)

North Middlesex University Hospital pickets (Photo: Jonny Jones)

North Middlesex University Hospital pickets (Photo: Jonny Jones)

North Middlesex University Hospital picket line – young, vibrant, diverse and massive! The public support for this picket line is insane. So much bibbing! Junior Doctor on the picket line: “I wasn’t really political before this, but now I’ve seen all the bad things the government’s doing, I’m like fuck this.” – Jonas

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Defend our NHS supporting the Junior Doctors strike at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Photo: Pete Gillard)

Defend our NHS supporting the Junior Doctors strike at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Photo: Pete Gillard)

 

University College Hospital, Central London

University College Hospital pickets (Photo: Adam DC)

University College Hospital pickets (Photo: Adam DC)

Good turn out at locations around UCH, London, including junior Doctors having a “meet the public” event outside Euston Station. They handed out leaflets and were asking people to pose in a “we support junior doctors” frame. One Junior Doctor, in her 30s explained how she’d been a ‘Doctor’ previously, but was now a Junior again because she had decided to retrain in a different speciality. She was very supportive of the Student Nurses, she told me “what’s happening to the student nurses is terrible, they work long hours too, and taking the bursary away from them is disgraceful. We need solidarity across the NHS”.  Others spoke of the demonisation they felt in the press and from the government, and most who are new to industrial action hadn’t expected such hostility. – Adam DC

University College Hospital pickets (Photo: Adam DC)University College Hospital pickets (Photo: Adam DC)

Supporters outnumbered  junior doctors on freezing but very cheerful picket lines at University College Hospital in central London this morning. Supporters came from nearby colleges, Camden Council, Islington South Labour Party as well as many individuals. There were two picket lines at the hospital itself, as well as a solidarity table across the Euston Road and a ‘Meet the doctors’ event at Euston station.

The doctors were keen to stress they didn’t want to strike, with one confessing she had woken up hoping to hear it had been called off, but determined to fight for as long as it takes. “We know this is about the NHS”, said Lina, a medical researcher out in solidarity. “If we don’t support the NHS, who will?”

Yannis, the BMA rep, said the response had been excellent from both other workers in the hospital and patients, and that he was sure of a good turn-out for the day. He also stressed the wider implications of the dispute for the NHS, an in response to a reporter’s question about what next said “The plans are out there – if we don’t get what we want from today, we’ll strike again.”

As I left to go to work more doctors and supporters were arriving, with events planned throughout the day. Just before I got to work I came across more doctors leafleting outside Russell Square tube station, from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neuroscience. They were loud and lively, and getting an excellent response, and again planning to be there all day. – Charlie

St Thomas’ Hospital, South London

Student nurses join the picket lines at St Thomas' hospital (Photo: Emma C)

Student nurses join the picket lines at St Thomas’ hospital (Photo: Emma C)

Picket lines at St Thomas' hospital (Photo: Emma C)

Picket lines at St Thomas’ hospital (Photo: Emma C)

Hillingdon Hospital, West London

Spirits high at Hillingdon Hospital (Photo: Chaz Singh )

Spirits high at Hillingdon Hospital (Photo: Chaz Singh )

Leicester Royal Infirmary

Pickets at Leicester Royal Infirmary (Photo: Kevin Frank)

Pickets at Leicester Royal Infirmary (Photo: Kevin Frank)

Around 30 pickets outside LRI. Very well received by the public. – Kevin

Royal London Hospital, East London

Hospitality workers supporting strikers at Royal London Hospital

Hospitality workers supporting strikers at Royal London Hospital

Strikers at Royal London Hospital

Strikers at Royal London Hospital

Consultants coming out to show support at Royal London Hospital

Consultants coming out to show support at Royal London Hospital

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There were up to 70 people demonstrating while we were there this morning, including workers from the UCU, Unison, Unite hotel and bar workers, medical students and the bikers who have been cycling from picket to picket all morning. Lots of mention of nurses and solidarity across the sectors. Was freezing cold but the picket will be up all afternoon. Many were nervous about the strike but demonstrated a real sense of resilience. – Nilüfer

 

North Manchester General Hospital

North Manchester General Hospital (Photo: Ian Allinson)

North Manchester General Hospital (Photo: Ian Allinson)

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Greenwich 

Queen Elizabeth Hospital pickets (Photo: Colin Revolting)

Queen Elizabeth Hospital pickets (Photo: Colin Revolting)

Whipps Cross Hospital

At 9am there are about 35 people at the picket line, about half doctors, alongside the Unison and Waltham Forest Save Our NHS banners. Huge support from passing motorists. Other doctors have split off to meet the public at Leytonstone and Walthamstow tube stations. A rally will be held at the main entrance on Whipps Cross Road at 5.30pm. Whipps Cross is part of Barts Health, one of the most heavily indebted NHS Trusts. 10% of the Trust’s budget is being spent on servicing a £1.1bn PFI scheme. – James

 

Whipps Cross picket lines (Photo: James B)

Whipps Cross picket lines (Photo: James B)

 

Royal Free, Hampstead

Pickets at Royal Free (Photo: Charlotte Bence)

Pickets at Royal Free (Photo: Charlotte Bence)

Pickets at Royal Free (Photo: Charlotte Bence)

Pickets at Royal Free (Photo: Charlotte Bence)

Two great picket lines at Royal Free this morning. Met James, the BMA rep who said that they were expecting the lines to be busier after 11 when a lot of juniors still working will finish their shifts. He said: “This being Hampstead a lot of people round here probably voted for the government we’ve got at the moment but we’ve had loads of support from passers by. We’ve got the nurses banner out too, paramedics have been setting their sirens off as the ambulances go by & lots of cars have been beeping their horns. It’s great.” – Charlotte

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