The London choir were out in force for the last industrial action on the 9th and 10th of March, with the aim of supporting our colleagues on the picket and engaging with the public. We wanted the public to hear us!!! What exactly is this junior contract is about and why do we feel so strongly about it that we are willing to strike?!
On the damp and drizzly morning of the 9th of March, as the first people were arriving to the picket line at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, five members of the National Health Singers joined the protesters (lots of choir members on duty for emergency cover) . We sang to and and with the protesters, starting off the industrial action in harmony.
The next stop on the National Health Singer’s tour of the picket lines of South London was St Helier’s Hospital (a hospital with its own history of fighting a long and hard fought battle with successive governments to remain open for the local community). On the way we met up with our good friends of the London black-cabs. Like during the most recent strike, these lovely gentlemen once again showed their support to the junior doctor cause by shipping us between venues. They have been unreserved in their support of us. Please take a moment to give your support to their cause @SaveTaxi @TheLTDA.
From St Helier’s we where we both sang and gave the protesters cake with the National Health Singer’s logo, we went to Lewisham University Hospital where we met up with more members of choir and sang for the protesters and the general public. From there, our black cab caravan drove to Denmark Hill where we sang to the picket lines at both King’s College Hospital and Maudsley Hospital.
There was a good ambience at both picket lines despite the cold and the rain. Once we’d bid farewell to the happy gang at Denmark Hill we set off to ‘Meet The Doctors’-events at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Department of Health, the BBC Broadcasting House and outside King’s Cross/St Pancras’ tube station. The black cab drivers not only drove us between these events, one of their colleagues had brought a car with a giant poster featuring the National Health Singers’ and the junior doctor contract. This poster didn’t just serve a the purpose of raising awareness for the junior doctor cause, but also served as a great backdrop for the show.
After the show at King’s Cross we had a well deserved break for dinner. Once we were well fed and ready to hit the road again we made our way to St Thomas’ Hospital where we took part in the vigil for the NHS where we joined the crowd as they walked to 10 Downing Street where we all sang and listened to speeches whilst surrounded by blue electric candles. It was a very atmospheric and positive note to end a long day of protesting and singing.
Thursdays schedule was slightly less hectic – we had some lovely new choir members going us at Charing Cross Station. What a joy! – we had a quick practice outside the station and then Flashmobed inside. Fantastic sound, and very well received by the public! We then walked and sung through Covent Garden to Leicester Square tube. Another flash mob at Euston and yet again at Kings Cross. These gave us lots of public interaction, with a chance to talk to people about why the imposed contract puts patient safety at risk. We ended the second day of the 48 hour strike singing on the steps of St Pauls and another fantastic blue light vigil.