Junior Doctors Begin Permanent Protest

[box] Rob Cleaver reports on the junior doctors awaiting an audience with Jeremy Hunt [/box]1

A growing team of junior doctors have set up a permanent protest outside the Department of Health in an attempt to encourage Jeremy Hunt back into talks regarding the junior doctor contract.

Starting yesterday, The team of doctors, led by Drs Rachel Clarke and Dagan Lonsdale, have been taking turns doing twelve hour shifts at the protest until the Health Secretary engages in talks in an attempt to avert the all out 48 hour strike later in the month. So far Hunt has failed to contact them let alone take a seat on his monogrammed chair with reports from inside the Department of Health suggesting he has been entering the building through an alternate entrance in order to avoid them.

Both Dr Clarke and Dr Lonsdale have been very vocal in the junior doctors’ contract campaign and have consistently been lauded by fellow medics for their commitment to the cause. Throughout their initial 24 hour sit-in they were approached by members of the public and provided with coffee and even a takeaway from an anonymous supporter.


Doctors are due to hold the first ever all-out doctors’ strike on the 26th and 27th April, including the withdrawal of emergency cover, as a result of the Government walking out of talks earlier in the year and deciding to impose a contract deemed unfair and unsafe. Despite the strike currently going ahead, many medics believe that it could still be averted if Jeremy Hunt were to reopen negotiations with the BMA, something that Junior Doctors’ Committee leader Johann Malawana has been calling for ever since strike action was announced last month. Many consultants up and down the country have come out in support of their junior colleagues, with many tweeting their willingness to cover during the strike action at the end of the month.

The protest comes in the wake of several very senior doctors, including Sir Bruce Keogh, seemingly being wheeled out by the Government to speak against industrial action in a bid to gain support from a public that are largely in agreement with the doctors’ fight against a new contract that is perceived to be harmful to clinicians but also, more importantly, to the patients as well.

You can follow the protest on twitter, with both Dr. Lonsdale and Dr. Clarke updating us as the protest progresses into its second day.

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