UK doctors rally outside Conservative conference as strike continues over pay dispute

World

Published: 2023-10-03 21:56

Last Updated: 2024-06-15 07:00


UK doctors rally outside Conservative conference as strike continues over pay dispute
UK doctors rally outside Conservative conference as strike continues over pay dispute

Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) joined a rally in Manchester near the Conservative Party conference, as both senior and junior doctors take part in strike action, the latest in a series of strikes over pay and the cost of living crisis.

Dr Tal Ellenbogen, Core Surgical Trainee and member of the BMA's UK doctors committee, said: "The message is loud and clear. It is a united profession that has had 15 years of real terms pay cuts. We've lost a quarter of our pay and we can't lose more because doctors are leaving left, right, and center, to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, they're going to Ireland, to other industries. And that means there are not enough doctors in hospitals to give patients the care they deserve and that we aspire to deliver."

Regarding Health Secretary Stephen Barclay calling BMA leaders "militant," he said: "He can describe us as militant, we describe ourselves as organized. Us standing up for ourselves and for our patients is doing the right thing. If he can compare that to a war, that's on him and his imagery. He needs to get back to the negotiating room, start doing his job and fulfill the government's promise to cut waiting lists. Waiting lists are going up, and they've been going up for the last 13 or 14 years. That's on them. The people in that room and specifically Rishi Sunak and his health stooge, Mr. Barclay."

"We'll negotiate with any party in government. A change of government will not end this dispute - a fair pay deal will. We'll speak to the Tories, we'll speak to Labor, we'll speak to Lib Dems. We'll speak to anyone who is willing to value doctors and aim to actually retain them. The goal of government should not be just to end strikes. It should be to keep doctors in the NHS, to help with retention, with recruitment, to have a credible workforce plan that delivers for patients, and they're failing on every single aspect," he added.