Monday, 20 September 2021

Lucy, two, joins the picket line

A GIRL from Goring was among dozens of people to join the picket line as junior doctors

A GIRL from Goring was among dozens of people to join the picket line as junior doctors staged a walkout at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Lucy Airey, two, whose mother Sarah Morton is a GP in Caversham, held a banner in support of the doctors, who were protesting against proposed new contracts on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Many motorists stopped to deliver food, drink and support, while others tooted as they drove by. Consultants and patients from the hospital also regularly came outside to stand with the protesters.

It was the first time in the history of the NHS that doctors had stopped providing emergency care. The strike action ran from 8am to 5pm each day, though many doctors returned to work afterwards. Doctors argue that the new contract will be bad for patients but the Government says is designed to create a 24/7 health service.

Lucy’s brother Robert was rushed to the Royal Berks on Boxing Day 2011 after he contracted pneumococcal meningitis as a baby.

As the Henley Standard reported in November, doctors warned his mother and father Paul Airey to prepare for the worst.

Robert battled through and was able to leave hospital two weeks later. Dr Morton says he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the junior doctors who treated him.

Both Robert and Lucy were on the picket line for a previous 24-hour walkout in January, with Robert holding a sign which read: “Junior doctors saved my life”.

Dr Morton, who works at the Balmore Park Surgery, said: “I think the public are increasingly behind the junior doctors as they see through the spin and downright lies coming from Jeremy Hunt.

“This strike is not about Saturday pay as the government wants you to believe. Junior doctors want to be doing their jobs, in the hospitals and GP surgeries caring for their patients.

“The medical profession has never been more unified. We can not and will not be complicit in a contract that will jeopardise patient care. Our duty is truly to our patients and this is something Jeremy Hunt has failed to understand from the start.”

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