‘No ifs, no buts, no junior doctor cuts’: 20,000 doctors protest in London (PHOTOS)
Over 20,000 doctors have marched through London in protest against changes in contracts for junior doctors regarding new pay and working conditions which have been introduced by the UK government.
Young health care professionals say that the changes will force them to work longer hours, resulting in a greater risk of burnout. The British Medical Association (BMA), argues that under the new proposed conditions junior doctors will see pay cuts of up to 30 percent.
"No ifs, no buts, no junior doctor cuts," the protesters chanted in the background as banners displayed messages such as "Save Our NHS" and "Bad decisions cost lives".
"They are starting with the junior doctors and they will finish with the NHS, the NHS is in peril and we must do everything we can to save it. Let's fight together and let's save our NHS," Robert Galloway, one of the protesters, said.
The protest in Central London started at Waterloo Place and moved along to Pall Mall and Whitehall before concluding at Parliament Square.
At Waterloo Place the activists were addressed by shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander. He called on the UK health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to “stop the high-handed demands, show you are prepared to compromise and put patient safety ahead of politics,” as cited by the Guardian.
According to Johann Malawana, the head of the British Medical Association's junior doctors' committee, “the outpouring of anger and frustration we have seen from thousands of junior doctors across the UK, culminating in today's unprecedented gathering in London, must be a wake-up call for ministers."
"If they thought that junior doctors would simply accept their threats of imposition they have been proved very wrong."
Similar rallies took place in the cities of Belfast and Nottingham earlier in the day, with another one planned in Dundee, Scotland's fourth largest city on Sunday.