Feb 7, 2016
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Redgrave, Westwood join UK junior doctors' pay protest

Feb 7, 2016

Oscar-winning British actress Vanessa Redgrave and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood joined more than a thousand junior doctors protesting in London on Saturday against proposed new working conditions and pay rates.

The veteran political campaigners spoke at the march, which rallied outside Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office.

British actress Vanessa Redgrave and British fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood - AFP / Leon Neal)

The demonstration comes ahead of a 24-hour walkout due to begin on Wednesday, when junior doctors across the country will only provide emergency care.

It was the third time junior doctors have protested against the government's proposals, which it says aim to improve care over weekends.

Talks between the Department of Health the British Medical Association doctors' trade union have reached an impasse over weekend pay rates.

Westwood told the crowd: "Junior doctors are the future and you will win. You are fighting to protect the National Health Service. To protect it from government cuts.

"We need more doctors not less doctors. Doctors who get enough sleep so they can give their best care to patients."

Emma Gordon, a junior urologist of five years at the West Suffolk Hospital in eastern England, told AFP: "Compared against other healthcare systems around the world, we consistently do more with less, and fewer doctors than almost any other country in the world, and still provide the single best healthcare available.

"What we need is greater funding, greater infrastructure, more nurses, more support staff. We need more, not less."

Julia Prague, who works in general medicine at a London hospital, said: "It's not fair for doctors, because it wants us to work up until one in two weekends.

"We want to spend time with our families, see our friends and rest. It's exhausting being a doctor, both mentally and physically. So we need to have time to kind of readjust. And being in the hospital all the time is not good."

Craig Leaper, a junior doctor for six years in general medicine and clinical pharmacology at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, told AFP: "Because we work on a limited budget, we can't provide all of our services seven days a week. We don't have the staff, we don't have the money, we don't have the resources.

"If you want it fully seven days a week, we need the stuff, we need the money, we need the resources. We can't miraculously change five days into seven."

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