Vishnu Parameshwaran is a BMA Junior Doctors' rep at Bart's Health Trust
I have been a rep for a year now - I've always been interested in trade unions and workers' rights. Up to now, most of the work of the BMA has been on local issues - making sure that doctors get their contracts on time; monitoring the hours that doctors are working, and so on.
We are doctors and our main concern is patients, and that is why we are taking this action today. The new contracts will lead to unsustainable staffing arrangements in the NHS - and that will hurt patients.
We are taking action with a heavy heart. No-one here wants to strike today: but if we didn't strike, we would be failing to uphold our responsibility towards our patients. We have a duty to ensure the best possible care for patients.
How are we being received by other grades? Well, as you can see, all the senior consultants and consultants in the hospital have given us a big picture of themselves that we're displaying on the picket line! Everyone is on side. Allied health professionals - nurses, occupational therapists and others - they are with us as well. They're facing student bursary cuts and they're severely over-worked. In fact, there is a student nursing bursary campaign organiser addressing our rally right this minute!
I suspect that what's happening with the junior doctor contracts is the government's way of undermining the NHS to support their argument that privatisation is necessary and unavoidable. And it's well known that plenty of them hold shares in private health companies. So it's no secret what is going on.
Two junior doctors in Sheffield also spoke to Solidarity