Junior doctors receive overwhelming public support through CrowdJustice to legally challenge government imposed contract
Frustrated NHS staff turned to crowdfunding this week to fund a challenge against the controversial junior doctors contract. In three days, the campaign has exceeded their £100,000 target to get their case to court, backed by 3,500 supporters from the general public.
The campaign was started on CrowdJustice by a four London-based doctors with a shared 30 years of experience working in the NHS. The appeal reads like a last resort measure for the claimants, stating: “The NHS is on the brink of collapse and under further attack with this imposition. We are already perilously short of doctors and nurses in the NHS.We the public, patients and staff refuse to compromise safety for politics.”
The campaigners believe the £100,000 will be enough to start legal proceedings to address the government’s “7-day NHS” plan.
The doctors behind the campaign: Dr Ben White, Dr Francesca Silman, Dr Nadia Masood and Dr Marie McVeigh
120-hour weeks, 56-hour shifts
Thousands of junior doctors and supporters staged a third session of industrial action last week in their long-running dispute with the government over pay and conditions in the planned new contracts. Last month, The Guardian spoke with Dr Naadir Ansari who who shared a worrying statistic: “52% of junior doctors finishing their foundation years are going into the NHS. 48% aren’t.”
Along the same vein, a recent survey by the British Medical Association (BMA) revealed that 54 per cent of GPs are struggling with unsustainable workloads. 55 per cent acknowledge that morale is low or very low. Among junior doctors, a doctors’ union survey of more than 4,000 young medics carried out in October 2015 shows more than 70 per cent would move abroad, become a locum or change career if the new contract goes ahead.
Human rights law firm Bindmans has confirmed that it will take on the case and represent these junior doctors in a legal process which allows the high court to investigate issues and decide whether decisions made by the Secretary of State for Health, and employers are reasonable.
Bindmans is now collecting statements, putting evidence together, and considering the legal grounds for the challenge, according to an update on the campaign page.