As the junior doctors strike again, student nurse Danielle Tiplady reports from the streets
On 9 March, the junior doctors historic 48-hour strike began against the imposition of the unsafe and unfair contracts by Jeremy Hunt. NHS students went out visiting pickets from all universities showing their support and solidarity to junior doctors in these times of great uncertainty within the healthcare service.
We too have had our funding cut, with George Osborne choosing to charge us up to £64,000 to train to be a nurse, midwife or any of the associated healthcare professions. This government and their continual chronic underfunding and disrespect for our NHS, its patients and workers is a disgrace.
By the government attacking both the doctors and the NHS students in such a short space of time has brought us closer together, we are now in a situation whereby we are one profession and we know each others fight is our own. This is why on the 10th of February the nhs students did a one hour walk out to defend the nhs bursary and show support to the junior doctors.
During the first of the 48 hour strikes this week not only did we visit pickets. but on Thursday we joined the junior doctors to march from the Royal London in Whitechapel to St Pauls Cathedral. This was arranged by a group of Junior Doctors and included some amazing speakers such as Matt Wrack of FBU, Ian Hodson of BFAWU, Janet Maiden of Unison and Junior Doctor Jeeves Wijesuyria, one of the amazing organisers of the march.
I don't quite think any of us could have imagined how much of a tremendous success this would be. Starting at Whitechapel myself and other NHS students led the march into the road chanting 'save our nhs' and dancing to 'Jeremy Hunt has go to go!'. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the junior doctors made me feel incredibly proud to be part of such a united front. As we marched through the streets of London the general public joined in with us and soon our voice was echoing through the City, off of the bankers buildings and it was clear there is an incredible momentum and strength behind our fights to save the NHS.
This is not just about contracts or bursaries, the government are not going to stop until they have driven our healthcare service into the ground, sold it off piece by piece and made as much profit from it as they possibly can. Private companies place profit over anything else. We cannot let our NHS become this.
Continuing forward for the next strike on the 6th of April, the NHS students will be walking out for two hours between 10am-12pm joining junor doctors at the pickets. Please if you can come and join us at local hospitals and universities to show that we are as one and united against the cuts to the NHS. Tweet photos, come down in lunchtimes, tell your friends and family, the fight has only just begun.
We are aware we are in this for a marathon, but together we can win. Cuts to the healthcare service are just a part of cruel austerity measures imposed by the Tory government. Daily we are hearing new rounds of ludicrious cuts to welfare, healthcare, education which directly impact us all.
As healthcare workers and students we will be putting on a united front at the 'March for health, homes, jobs and education' on 16 April in London. For bursary students this is key, the consultation into the implementation of the bursary will be happening during this period so please join us and let's show the Tories we are going to fight long and hard to defend the future workforce of nursing, midwifery and associated healthcare professions for our patients and our NHS.