Around 30 junior doctors from Homerton Hospital staged a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall this lunchtime.
Waving placards and banners, the protesters gathered in front of the Town Hall building to show their dissatisfaction at the new contract they claim is being imposed on them by the government.
The demonstration was part of the nationwide all-out strike that began yesterday and is the first of its type in NHS history.
“There isn’t a doctor here in Hackney or elsewhere who wants to strike. We want to be looking after our patients,” said psychiatry trainee Dr Angela McGilloway
“But we have to strike in order to be able to look after them safely in the future.
“We’re here at the Town Hall because we really want this to be heard by the public. This is an opportunity for us to go out and educate people as to why we are on strike and why we’re so fearful of what might happen to the NHS.”
The junior doctors were joined by local GPs, union representatives and members of the public.
In an email seen by the Hackney Citizen, 105 senior doctors from Homerton Hospital pledged their support for the strike action, and have been stewarding emergency care in their absence.
Anaesthetics trainee Dr Christopher Smith said: “We have the support of our seniors, and the patients will be safe – but this is about their long-term safety. Our strike raises the issue with the public, and exposes the lies and deceit from the Department of Health. The public has shown us incredible support, especially in Hackney.
“While the new contract is being imposed, there can be no negotiations. We will have to wait and see the reaction from politicians before we decide our next move – we all want to be back at work.”
Local British Medical Association (BMA) representative Danny Turton said further industrial action was a possibility.
“These local doctors and those around the country can’t back down, they must continue – the safety of the NHS is at stake. This strike and the others nationwide demonstrate our resolve and the support we have from the public,” he said.
“It’s obvious that Jeremy Hunt wants this fight. But it’s an unnecessary fight, and one we didn’t need to have. It is inconvenient for patients, which is regrettable, but not unsafe.”