Junior doctor resigns live on TV in protest at Jeremy Hunt's new contract

Ben White says: 'We have been backed into a corner and there's not a lot of sense coming out of the Government'

Hannah Stubbs,Elsa Vulliamy
Monday 25 April 2016 07:13
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Leading Junior Doctor quits live on air

A junior doctor announced his intention to resign from the profession live on TV out of frustration over the new contract.

Trainee doctor Ben White announced on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he would be resigning in order to focus on a legal campaign against the contract which he felt had himself and his colleagues “backed into a corner”.

He said: "I have taken the decision that I am resigning as a trainee doctor to focus on a legal campaign to fight the contract on behalf of my patients and on behalf of the NHS."

When asked why he had chosen to resign, Dr White said: “I really feel like we’ve been backed into a corner and there’s not a lot of sense coming out of the Government’s side of things.

"We have to put patients first and we can see at the moment the understaffing and the underfunding in the NHS."

Junior doctors are set to begin an all-out strike from 8am on Tuesday which will continue through Wednesday.

The strike has already resulted in the cancellation of 125,000 operations and appointments.

Dr White assured patients that they can still receive emergency care during the two-day planned strike if they go to a hospital, as consultants would be available to treat them.

On Sunday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to trial an alternative contract in exchange for cancelling the strike.

Mr Hunt dismissed a letter from the shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander, urging him to agree to trial the new junior doctors' contract rather than impose it across the NHS unilaterally.

The letter, which was also signed by two former heath ministers – including a Conservative - also said there should be an independent evaluation of the so-called "weekend effect" which sees higher mortality rates for patients admitted at weekends.

A BMA source said they supported the initiative and that if the Government agreed to limited trials of a pilot of the contract, representatives would be prepared to meet them to discuss the possibility of calling off the strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The walkout would see all junior doctors, including Accident & Emergency staff, walk out – the first time such action has been taken in NHS history by doctors.

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