Our NHS staff must feel they are supported

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Junior doctors are preparing to go on strike over the new contract imposed on them by the Tory government, which will mean even longer hours for less pay.

It is not a step they are taking lightly.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has driven them to action.

Junior doctors are vital to the future of the NHS.

And if we want to move towards a seven-day NHS and improve patient care, we need to ensure that the staff we rely on feel supported and valued.

The government has failed on all those counts.

The result will be chaos, plummeting morale amongst over-worked, dedicated professionals, and it could lead to a mass exodus from the NHS by these despairing staff.

It could also lead to more industrial action, which will be distressing for patients, doctors, and everyone else who works in or depends on the NHS.

I supported an Opposition motion, which urged the government to guarantee that no junior doctor will have their pay cut as a result of a new contract.

It also called on the government to put forward safe and fair proposals.

The Government rejected the motion.

Junior doctors are dedicated, highly qualified people on whom we all depend.

Even at this late stage, I hope the health secretary will go back and negotiate with them.

But on past form, there is fat chance of that.