Junior doctors’ strikes: Peterborough medics strike for third day after witnessing ‘crumbling of the NHS’

"The NHS used to be the envy of the world in terms of health care services – we’re now seeing a degradation and crumbling of the NHS”
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Junior doctors in Peterborough went on strike for a third day this week over pay and conditions on Wednesday (March 15).

It comes as junior doctors, who are part of the British Medical Association (BMA) union, entered the final day of their 72-hour strike – joining teachers and tube workers across the country on what has been dubbed ‘Walkout Wednesday’.

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Striking junior doctors from hospitals across the region formed a picket line outside Peterborough City Hospital, where they were calling on the Government for pay rises in light of cuts made to the NHS and the rising rate of inflation and cost of living.

Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City HospitalPeterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital
Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital

"The NHS used to be the envy of the world in terms of health care services,” one junior doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, said on the picket line outside the hospital.

"We’re seeing a degradation and crumbling of the NHS infrastructure as a result of the lack of staff and lack of investment in its workforce.

“Our wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. We’re understaffed, largely because we’re underpaid. You can’t retain the workforce if the pay doesn’t reflect the level of stress and demands being placed on us.

"It’s frustrating, devastating and demoralising.”

Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City HospitalPeterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital
Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital
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The junior doctors have been on strike since Monday (March 13) – on the picket like from 7am to 2.30pm each day.

They told the Peterborough Telegraph they are asking for “pay restoration” – an increase to the standard rate of pay for a newly qualified doctor from £14 an hour to £19.

"Over the last 15 years our pay has been eroding continuously,” another junior doctor, who also asked to remain unnamed, said.

“I qualified as a doctor in August last year and I make £14 an hour. Across the NHS there are 8,700 vacant posts for doctors. Overall there are 124,000 NHS vacancies, but there are seven million people on waiting lists for treatment.

Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City HospitalPeterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital
Peterborough's junior doctors on strike outside Peterborough City Hospital
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"All these numbers will continue to rise causing more patients to come to harm unfortunately despite our best efforts.

"The public has been overwhelmingly supportive and I think they value the NHS greatly.

"We work tirelessly all day every day to ensure patient safety and improve their quality of life, but I don’t feel like that is reflected by our elected representatives in valuing what we do.”

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital, said: "The 72-hour action period is in response to the dispute over junior doctors’ pay and is a matter between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government.

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"Locally we meet regularly with the BMA via the Local Negotiating Committee and we are committed to working in partnership to prioritise safe patient care and to protect service delivery, where possible.

“Our Trust leadership team has confirmed plans to manage service delivery during the period of action and the week as a whole. Our main priority will be ensuring we can continue to run our hospitals and care for our patients safely. We hope to keep any disruption to a minimum.”