Heidi Alexander MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, has responded to the request of the Oxford & District Labour Party to show support for junior doctors.
This request was made at our February all members meeting, where we heard from Dr. Nadia Randazzo, a local leader in the campaign for junior doctors. After she gave an update on the current progress of the campaign, members vocally offered support and asked what the local party could do to help. Ann Black, Secretary of the Oxford & District Labour, at the request of members sent the following to Heidi Alexander's team:
Dear Heidi Alexander
The Oxford & District Labour Party met on Thursday 11 February 2016 and heard from the vice-chair of the Oxford BMA junior doctors’ committee about their ongoing dispute with the Tory government, which had failed to engage in constructive negotiations.
Members felt that although Labour's shadow health secretary said that Jeremy Hunt had taken the wrong approach to the situation, the dispute had not been raised at prime minister’s questions, and the Labour leadership seemed reluctant to take sides. The meeting agreed unanimously to write to you both,making these points and calling on Labour to support the doctors in any further strikes.
We would be grateful for a reply.
With best wishes
Secretary of the Oxford & District Labour Party
The party has received the following reply:
Thank you for your recent email to Heidi Alexander MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, on behalf of Oxford & District Labour Party regarding the junior doctors’ contract dispute. Ms Alexander has asked me to respond on her behalf. Please accept my apologies for the delay in acknowledging your correspondence.
Since her appointment to the role of Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Ms Alexander has been contacted by hundreds of junior doctors who are concerned about the Government’s proposals to change the terms and conditions of their contracts. She believes the way in which the Government has handled the negotiations has caused unnecessary stress and anger amongst the very people who keep our NHS running.
As you may know, Ms Alexander secured (and led) an Opposition Day Debate and two Urgent Questions in the Commons on this issue, she spoke at the London rally organised by junior doctors in October, she shadowed a junior doctor during his shift at her local hospital and has conducted a significant number of media interviews. She has also raised the issue with Jeremy Hunt at their departmental exchanges and Jeremy Corbyn has put questions directly to the Prime Minister.
More recently, she has raised concerns about the decision by the Secretary of State to impose the contract. She believes this decision is provocative and she fears imposition will further destroy morale amongst NHS staff.
If you are interested in reading more about Ms Alexander’s views and action on this issue you can see the speeches she has delivered on her website: http://www.heidialexander.org.uk/parliament.aspx
You may also find the recent blog she has written for the Huffington Post website of interest: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/heidi-alexander/jeremy-hunt-junior-doctors_b_9424772.html
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about this matter. Once again, I am sorry for the delay in responding to you.
Office of Heidi Alexander MP
Member of Parliament for Lewisham East and Shadow Secretary of State for Health
We hope members find this information useful. These efforts can only be made with the agreement of our membership, and are usually passed at all member meetings. If you are not receiving details of all member meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on future meetings. Please note that there will be no meeting in April due to city council elections.