Health campaigners and politicians call on Government to keep Vote Leave’s junior doctors pledge

Politicians and health experts are calling on the Government to honour Vote Leave’s promise to end the junior doctors dispute by increasing their pay.

Vote Leave Watch and the Healthier In campaign are backing the #ShowUsTheMoney campaign, calling on the Chancellor to commit to Vote Leave’s promises on the NHS by the Autumn Statement on November 23rd.

Vote Leave promised during the referendum campaign to restore automatic annual pay progression for junior doctors, at a cost of almost £1bn.

Commenting, Norman Lamb MP, former Minister of State for Health and Patron of Vote Leave Watch, said:

“People who work in and depend upon our National Health Service will rightly expect this Vote Leave promise to be kept. Especially when so many of Vote Leave’s senior figures are now members of the Government.

“The Chancellor has a golden opportunity at his Autumn Statement to keep the promises they made to the British people.”

Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of Vote Leave Watch, said:

“The amazing junior doctors who work so hard in our NHS deserve to be properly paid. Reaching a settlement on pay would be a huge boost for them, and would allow everyone to focus on serving patients instead of this bitter industrial dispute.

“Vote Leave boasted the cost of this would just be a fraction of the money we pay to the EU. So Leavers in Government need to make sure this pledge is kept, and show us the money on November 23rd.”

Dr Mike Galsworthy of the Healthier In campaign said:

“Vote Leave spokespeople who were rightly wringing their hands over the under-funding of the NHS some months back have now gone silent. Ironically the NHS's crisis has worsened, with Brexit likely to play an exacerbating role.

“The state of the NHS is more of a 'mandate' than immigration or any other issue as Remain voters and Leave voters can readily agree on it. The NHS is clearly underfunded relative to other countries and to need. We call on Vote Leave to show that their intentions, at least, were genuine by joining us in petitioning for adequate NHS funding.”

Professor Martin McKee of the Healthier In campaign said:

“Vote Leave could not have been clearer. They promised that leaving the EU would free up £350 million for the NHS. Now that many of them are in government, and at a time when the NHS is really struggling, we must hold them to their commitments.”

/ends

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Vote Leave’s #ShowUsTheMoney campaign is calling on the Chancellor to use the Autumn Statement on November 23rd to commit to keeping Vote Leave’s promise to spend an extra £350 million a week on the NHS, including the £1bn for increasing junior doctors’ pay. 41 MPs, from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have backed the campaign: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/24/mps-letter-urges-chancellor-honour-vote-leave-campaign-350m-pound-nhs-promise.

5,000 people have now signed the petition: http://www.voteleavewatch.org.uk/show-us-the-money.

Vote Leave argued that the system of automatic annual pay progression for junior doctors, which existed in April 2015-March 2016, could be brought back after a vote for Brexit. They estimated the increase in pay for junior doctors relative to the Government’s planned scheme would total £977,640,150.

In Vote Leave’s press release, the now Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, said:

“Getting to a proper seven day NHS could make a real difference to this country. It would be so much easier to pay for that change if we took back control of our £350 million a week contribution to the EU and spent it on our priorities. For example, the money at the heart of the current doctors dispute is just 5% of our overall annual contribution.

“We shouldn't be spending billions on the EU that could make our NHS better and help deal with its current challenges.

“The Remain campaign also need to explain how they would provide enough money and doctors to cope with the 3 million migrants they want to see come to Britain in the next fifteen years if we stay in the EU.

“The NHS is already running to keep up with the demands placed on it by the huge influx of people into the country and by the ageing population.”

Gisela Stuart, Vote Leave’s co-chair who is now chair of the Change Britain group, said:

“On Jeremy Hunt’s watch the NHS has plummeted into financial crisis. This Government is hurting patients by starving the NHS of the funding that it needs.

“A small fraction of the money that the EU takes from us each year could be used to give junior doctors the pay settlement they are looking for and end these damaging strikes.

“If we Vote Leave and invest more in the NHS then we could end the current health crisis, nurse the NHS back to health and improve care for patients. We should spend our money on our priorities like the NHS.”

The full Vote Leave press release is here: https://voteleavearchive.com/junior_doctors_pay_dispute_could_be_settled_with_just_over_two_weeks_of_our_eu_contributions