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Tory MP joins pickets in thanks for first-rate care

TORY MP Huw Merriman broke ranks with his party yesterday to join junior doctors on a picket line as repayment for their “beautiful” care during a recent hospital stay.

He visited medics picketing St Thomas’s Hospital in Westminster, where he was treated for the achilles injury he sustained playing for Parliament’s football team.

The Bexhill & Battle MP also showed solidarity with junior doctors staging a permanent sit-down protest outside the Department of Health.

Mr Merriman told the Star: “They looked after me beautifully and I still go there for physio. I’ll be there tomorrow.

“So I just felt it was right to go and see how they were after they had made sure I was OK.”

The MP also revealed he spoke to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt the night before the strike to urge him to “get around the table as soon as possible.”

He added: “I really felt for them [junior doctors] actually, because they don’t want to be doing this, that’s very clear.

“The points that they make are very reasonable and well made and I just hope they can get back to practising.”

The Star revealed that Tory former health minister Dr Dan Poulter delivered cups of tea to doctors protesting outside his former boss’s office during the last strike day.

Carrie Thomas, one of the doctors keeping the vigil outside Mr Hunt’s office, said they had also received “significant” support from his own staff yesterday.

“People on their way to work have come over and said that, off the record, they support us,” she told the Star. “Many people working inside have family or friends that work as doctors as well as them being patients.

“It’s encouraging to hear that support — and one of them even gave me a pair of gloves.”

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