David Williams, leader of the Green Group on Oxfordshire County Council, is supporting the decision of Junior Doctors to take strike action, beginning with a one day strike on 1st December. He comments:
"It is with a heavy heart that I see junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly for strike action on 1st, 8th and 16th December. But the Green Party recognises that proposed changes to the contracts of junior doctors would make very challenging work more difficult. It is not surprising the junior doctors have disregarded Government attempts to browbeat them into submission. The national demonstration by junior doctors in October attracted an attendance of 20,000.
"The real context of the imminent strike is not just about contracts. The cuts imposed on the NHS are leading to loss of staff, putting pressure on those who remain. When this has been questioned by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the Government has pressured this body to keep silent on job losses. The annual report on Health by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development indicates a poorly funded health service in the UK when compared with other rich countries.
"The Chancellor has had his chance. He has failed to put up cigarette and alcohol taxation to help fund the NHS. He is deliberately choosing to neglect our ageing population, who need more spent on health. The junior doctors' decision to fight is our common fight: to restore a properly-funded and adequately-staffed NHS for all."