Local campaigning group Hastings Solidarity (HaSol) turned out in force at the town centre on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon (9th January) to highlight community support for our local junior doctors. Beleaguered nationally by current Government policies that seem intent on dismantling the NHS, the doctors are due to strike on Tuesday 12th, with emergency only coverage for 24 hours, in an effort to protect working conditions believed to be already less than satisfactory. If Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposals go ahead, the hours and conditions junior doctors would be expected to accept fall short of the BMA’s “need for robust contractual safeguards on safe working, and proper recognition for those working unsocial hours”.

Neil O’Warne of HaSol explained to HIP that the town centre event was to collect written endorsements of support for junior doctors and the essential work they do from members of the local community. Recorded on two giant cards, over 200 signatures and messages of appreciation had already been collected during the first hour. These cards will be taken to a picket outside The Conquest Hospital on the 12th to demonstrate local strength of feeling against the proposed new working conditions.

Clover, a first year medical student from Hastings now studying at UCL, told HIP:

“I am signing my support to fight for the future of the NHS and to secure a workable career for all my qualified and yet to qualify colleagues in the UK medical profession.”

The picket line at The Conquest will be in operation from 9.30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday 12th January. Hastings Solidarity will be joining them from 10.30 a.m. onwards and all local residents concerned about this issue are invited to join them. Hastings Solidarity brings together local people who are politically active in our communities and workplaces.

www.hasol.org.uk

By: Pete Donohue