NHS doctor stages ‘train talk’ urging people to vote

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A junior doctor has surprised London commuters by urging them to use their general election vote to “save the NHS”.

Emma Pencheon implored passengers to “vote for the change that we deserve” during a two-minute speech as she held a sign that said “Save our NHS”.

“I know it’s really easy to feel powerless because we are made to feel that way but our votes matter so much,” she said, adding that she sees patients in crisis every day and that her colleagues “work tirelessly in a system that is crumbling under this government”.

She also called for people to consider the so-called climate emergency and child poverty when casting their vote.

Ms Pencheon told talkRADIO she was inspired to take action on the train after seeing colleagues do the same thing.

"I've never done any public speaking so this was a pretty terrifying thing for me to do, which reflects how crucial I think it is for everyone to vote in this election!

"I think like many people I feel generally frustrated with current politics and wanted to stimulate engagement and debate. The intention was to get people talking to each other and sharing their opinions."

Ms Pencheon, who works in an A&E department, received a mixed response after publishing video of her speech on Twitter.

One supporter wrote: “Thank you SO much! Totally agree! This is the most important vote of our lives! Please don’t blow!”

Another tweeted: “The last thing I’d want is a political activist preaching to me on the tube/ train.

“Doctor or not folk don’t want opinions bashing their ears, especially when they can’t get away from it.”

Others described her action as “inspiring” and a “silly stunt”.

The NHS is proving to be one of the main issues engaging voters. Boris Johnson has promised a £34 billion cash injection into the service, while Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to end privatisation.

The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have pledged to focus on care for patients suffering with mental health problems.

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