Hundreds of NHS workers march through Bristol for better pay and conditions

  • Watch this video report from ITV West Country's Richard Payne as he speaks to NHS workers, union members and supporters on why they chose to strike

Hundreds of NHS workers, union members and supporters marched through Bristol city centre yesterday afternoon (21 January).

The demonstration was organised by the British Medical Association whose junior doctor members are the latest to ballot for strike action.

They say they want support for better pay and conditions.

The demonstration began close to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and wove its way along Park Row and Park Street before a rally took place on College Green.

There, representatives from healthcare unions and workers spoke about the urgent need for the government to meet with unions.

Two trainee junior doctors - Alice Yates and Isabelle Wood - were among those at the march yesterday.

They say they have both voted in favour of a walkout in a ballot which could see them and their colleagues walk out in March, even though they don't want to do it.

Alice told ITV News: "I think we just want to continue to have a safe NHS and we want things to get better and we want it to improve."

"I don't think strikes are putting patients' lives at risk, I think their lives are already at risk because of staffing issues," added Isabelle.

"That is why we're out here."

Hundreds of people walked through the city centre before a rally at College Green Credit: ITV News

The BMA's action follows news of further strikes by nurses and ambulance workers in an attempt to force the government into improved pay awards.

Another junior doctor, Sam Taylor-Smith said, "When the nurses aren't funded properly when the paramedics aren't funded properly when doctors aren't funded properly, everyone working there suffers and ultimately patients suffer as well.

"We can't just fix one issue, we've got to fix them all, we've got to fix them all at the same time so the public gets the kind of care that they deserve."

In a statement, the Chief Executive of NHS England said workloads are being made more challenging by repeated strikes.

The government has said the pay increases demanded are unaffordable and it's calling for constructive talks with unions to settle the dispute.

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