Carla Denyer slams Labour failure to back junior doctors’ pay demands
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Carla Denyer has made her debut appearance on BBC Question Time. Against a backdrop of continued strikes in the NHS, the panel was asked about the junior doctor’s pay dispute.
In her response, Denyer took aim at the Labour Party’s continued refusal to commit to meeting the British Medical Association’s (BMA) calls for a restoration in 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 appeared on the show alongside Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting. He told the audience: “I’ve got to be honest, if I was the Health Secretary today, I wouldn’t be able to deliver a 35% pay increase overnight”.
Following this, Denyer defended the healthcare workers’ strikes, saying: “Healthcare professionals have been very clear about that – demand is increasing and there is not enough funding for them to do their job.
“You only have to speak to a healthcare worker – and I have been down on the picket lines with the nurses and the junior doctors listening to their experiences – and so many of them were there not just for their own personal pay, but because they were worried about the future of the NHS as a whole. They could see it crumbling, they could see they weren’t able to deliver the service.”
Denyer went on to criticise Labour’s position on pay within the NHS. She addressed Streeting directly, saying: “What I can’t understand I’m afraid, Wes, is how Labour think they’re gonna repair the damage to the NHS and fill those 133,000 vacancies if you’re not willing to be clear and say that you will restore 13 years of real terms pay cuts to healthcare workers. How’re you gonna fill those vacancies if you aren’t willing to at least hold their pay steady in real terms?”
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