EXHAUSTED junior doctors who have taken to the picket line today say they can no longer provide the level of care patients deserve and need.

Young NHS workers made their voices heard outside Colchester Hospital, in Turner Road, this morning as they took part in strike action for a third day in a row.

The frontline workers, members of the British Medical Association, are calling for an adequate pay increase to help them combat the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.

They say their wages have suffered a real-terms cut of more than a quarter within the last 15 years and they have therefore been left with no choice but to down tools.

The young medics are also concerned over the amount of colleagues leaving the profession all together due to being overworked as a result of a lack of staff.

Speaking from the picket line one junior doctor, 26, who has worked at Colchester Hospital for two years, said: “We are campaigning for pay restoration.

“Our pay has been degraded by 26 per cent since 2008 meaning we earn over a quarter less in real terms than what a junior doctor was earning back then.

“We start off with a wage of £14 an hour making life or death decisions, working long shifts in overrun and understaffed conditions.

“We want to improve pay and NHS staff retention and we are campaigning for better patient care and better patient safety.”

Gazette: Protest - Junior doctors striking in Colchester earlier this week Protest - Junior doctors striking in Colchester earlier this week (Image: Newsquest)

Another worried campaigner, 28, who has also been serving the people of Colchester for two years, said she recently worked 12-hour days for four days straight.

She added: “I became very burnt out and got to the point where I could not divide myself and there was just so much to do, especially when there are emergencies.

“Yes, this is for pay, but the role is very understaffed and you are usually working at least two jobs on a daily basis and it is just not enough.

“You cannot provide the care you want to for the patients, which is the biggest worry and we are doing more and more for less and less pay because more staff are leaving.

“I am exhausted.”


Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has now urged patients to use NHS services wisely.

He said: “It is important that in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or their life is at risk – patients continue to come forward as normal.

“Our accident and emergency departments are open throughout the strike period.

“If it is non-life threatening, please think about which is the most appropriate service for your needs.

“There are a range of options to help you, such as your local pharmacy, 111 online or your GP.

“Please help us to help you by keeping our emergency departments for those who really need them.”