Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer on a BMA picket line

The Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Carla Denyer joined striking junior doctors on a picket line in Bristol this morning. Junior doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) are currently taking strike action on 11-14 April in their ongoing dispute over pay.

According to the BMA, junior doctors have seen a real terms pay cut of 26% in the last 15 years. The BMA is seeking a pay increase of 35% in order to restore the losses since 2008.

Denyer said that doctors are “absolutely right” to demand pay this increase. She said: “Junior doctors are absolutely right to call for their pay to be restored to pre-austerity levels. Most people clearly agree that it is unacceptable for junior doctors to work ever longer hours while being asked to accept a real terms pay cut. A new poll shows 54% of the public back junior doctors taking action, while only 26% oppose.

“Years of government underfunding has pushed the NHS to breaking point and resulted in poor pay, thousands of unfilled vacancies, declining working conditions, overworked staff, and stretched capacity. Strike action by junior doctors and other health service workers is the inevitable consequence.

“The Green Party is committed to a properly funded NHS. We would increase investment by at least £6bn each year and ensure junior doctors and other health workers are decently paid. And to tackle the fact that one in three hospital beds in parts of England are occupied by patients well enough to be discharged but unable to access social care, we would also provide free social care.

“Health and social care, free at the point of use, could be funded through a wealth tax on the richest 1%, a single unified income tax – raising an additional £24 billion – or adding a social care levy to a more progressive tax system. Failure to provide adequate funding for decent health and social care is a political choice.”

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