Junior doctors and medical students gathered outside South Kensington Tube station this morning as part of the 24-hour walk-out .
As well as the large gathering, just a stone’s throw from Royal Brompton and The Royal Marsden hospitals, there was a picket line outside Charing Cross, which is run by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
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The strikes were organised by the British Medical Association (BMA). At South Kensington station medics were given a boost when the National Health Singers turned up to sing their support to them.
Among those there was Michael Quail, a 34-year-old who has been a junior doctor at Royal Brompton for 10 years. He said: “I think the supporter is here, the public have been very enthusiastic. They’re wearing our badges and are very interested. Even people who weren’t sure are taking information leaflets from us to find out what’s going on. We want to do the best for patients.”
Stephen Naulls and Ellis Rae are medical students studying at Imperial College. Ellis said: “I made the decision to become a doctor and I feel like I’ll be graduating into a fairly toxic environment. I want to change that.”
And Stephen added: “I feel like we have a workforce in the NHS that’s become disenfranchised over the years and I feel action is required. It’s wonderful to see people from so many different areas of health care support junior doctors and the future of the NHS.”
Dr Laura Jarvie, a GP registrar at Redcliffe Surgery in Chelsea , was also there to show her backing. She said: “I am here to support junior doctors in achieving a fair a contract that’s safe for patients and safe for the future of the NHS.”
Disruption at hospitals
NHS trusts told getwestlondon how they had been affected by the walk-outs. Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals Trust said unless patients have been told otherwise, all planned appointments had been cancelled.
The trust, which runs Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex Hospital , said its priority during the strike was emergency care.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused due to circumstances outside our control (this is a national strike) and we will be in touch to rebook your appointment as quickly as we can,” it added in a statement on its website.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said had worked with the BMA to ensure strikes kept disruptions for patients to a minimum.
A statement on its website said: “In partnership with the BMA locally, the trust has developed detailed plans to ensure patient safety and to minimise disruption to patients.
“On Tuesday January 12 to Wednesday January 13, all our emergency services will be running as they normally would and we will continue to provide full care for patients admitted to our hospitals.
"We are also able to continue with many of our planned services on this day, though we are cancelling and re-booking some procedures and appointments. You will be contacted if your appointment or procedure is affected.
“In the event of a major incident, we have agreed with the BMA that staff taking part in the industrial action will return to work.”
It said less than 10 elective surgery cases for non-urgent and non-cancer patients were cancelled. Patients affected were notified in advance.
Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have made arrangements to ensure that all patients can be safely cared for during the industrial action.
“Some services at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals may be affected during this time, but we are aiming for minimal disruption to clinics and treatments.”