We've been back on strike - or at least we've been on the picket line supporting the striking Junior Doctors at St. Peter's Hospital, Chertsey;
There was a good turnout, bigger than last time. My photo was from early in the morning and as the shifts changed the numbers got bigger.
We noticed the doctors got a lot more support from passing drivers than last time too.
This is the Chief Operating Officer of the hospital, down to check us out!
I think Robyn's getting the wrong idea about picket lines. The Doctors are very popular even in Surrey. We got a lot of support from some very expensive cars, although some of them may have been consultants.
Very movingly, a lady drove up to donate a tray of beautiful chocolate cupcakes.
No police here, no violence, just support from the public; it's not always like that when ordinary people are sticking up for themselves.
Of course, everyone knows that this is about opening up the NHS to new working practices that will hurt every member of staff from the bottom to the top;
Then, when weekends are paid at weekday rates it opens everything up to the privatisation that is nibbling away at the NHS. You just can't make enough profits if you have to pay higher rates for anti social working.
No one is against seven day working for the NHS but with qualifications.
We obviously need a 7 day Accident and Emergency and the diagnostics and consultants that requires. Right now the problem is that often the least experienced people are left to manage when the A and E's are at their busiest.
However, whether every hospital needs to do that is another question. Elite specialist stroke and cardiac units may be far more effective, covering patients for a number of hospital areas.
And there is absolutely no point in having every department at work 7 days a week - people have lives to live.
Here's Robyn stealing my whistle again;
Like everything it's complicated but judging by the high level of support most people have got the message.
One driver stopped his car to suggest that the doctors didn't need to strike - just agree not to treat any Members of Parliament when they fall ill.....that should resolve things quite quickly.
Here's a Doctors joke;
Q. "What's the only good Tory?
A. A suppository!"
Finally, I didn't feel well enough to walk all the way from the free car park at St. Peter's so I had to bite the bullet and pay.
Car parking at Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals has become a nice little earner for the trust - a tax on hospital visitors.
As a result, the local council took back the car park it used to rent out to St. Peter's at a 'peppercorn rent' and now has it's own charges.
Ashford and St. Peter's charge £4 for up to three hours. As you can see the local council's rate is considerably cheaper;
The Doctors now have to work out how they carry this on - we'll be back if they go on strike again, their cause benefits all of us because it strengthens the NHS.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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