Government’s forced contract change for doctors results in second strike
Unlike the dwindling level of public support for the programme of industrial action planned by Tube workers’ unions, Britain’s striking junior doctors have the majority of the public backing their strike.
Tens of thousands of doctors will down tools today in the dispute over the government’s plan to force longer hours on doctors that will result in a pay cut for many.
The walkout means that around 3,000 routine operations will be delayed.
The wave of strike action is the first for forty years, as more is demanded of overstretched doctors.
The British Medical Association, which balloted its 37,000 members and found that 98% of doctors were in favour of a strike.
The association has said that working longer and more anti-social hours will result in junior doctors being overworked – resulting in dangerous conditions for patients. It also cited concern over weekend pay, and opportunities for career progression.
Nonetheless, the organisation says it is keen to resolve the dispute through negotiation.
The BMA said it had “consistently made clear we would prefer to reach agreement on the junior contract through negotiation and are prepared to follow up every opportunity to do so.
“No doctor wants to take industrial action, but the secretary of state’s mishandling and continued intransigence has brought us to this position.”
Public support for doctors remains strong
A poll for the Health Service Journal indicates that public support for the doctors remains high, with the majority, (60%) of people backing the strike action.
However, there has been an increase in those opposing the action, which rose from 16% last month to 22% now.
Finally, health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is presiding over the introduction of the new rules forcing doctors to work longer hours over weekends, has been entertainingly lambasted in a letter to the Telegraph:
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) February 9, 2016