I joined Doctors in Unite to be part of a trade union that represents all health workers, not just doctors, and a union with a track record of campaigning and industrial struggle. It is important to me that Unite, unlike the BMA, is affiliated to the TUC.
I was honoured to speak at the TUC’s race relations committee meeting during their 2019 conference in Brighton, about the harms caused by the hostile environment and charging overseas visitors for NHS care. This was only possible thanks to our affiliation.
Unite has given me a space to organise with progressive doctors who believe in the NHS as Bevan intended: publicly funded, publicly provided, comprehensive and free at the point of delivery to all who are in the UK.
Being amongst these doctors kept me sane during the passage of the appalling Health and Social Care Act of 2012. Organising resistance with like minded doctors felt purposeful. It helped us continue the fight against threats to the NHS and the working conditions of doctors and other health workers.
Though Doctors in Unite is not a large branch of Unite, every member is an activist. We are all prepared to roll up our sleeves and get involved. Our members were always on the picket lines during the junior doctors strike, and also in more local disputes such as the Serco workers strike at Barts Health. We have created policy documents for the Labour shadow cabinet, and we are affiliated to other campaigning organisations such as Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together and Liberty.
My most memorable moment was being filmed for a Horizon programme in the Unite HQ in Holborn, speaking out against Babylon GP@Hand. Being in Unite gives us access to all aspects of trade union support, including the press office. It was a privilege to be able to have Unite as a platform to speak out.