UK doctors to strike amid widespread industrial action at hospitals | Daily News Byte

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Junior doctors in the UK’s public health system are preparing to vote on possible strike action in the new year, an industry body has announced.

The British Medical Association has called on the government for urgent talks on pay as discontent grows over the current compensation deal, the Mail Online reports.

Junior doctors – qualified physicians engaged in postgraduate training – were given a 2% increase in their latest pay award by ministers. But the BMA has asked for a rise of 26% as inflation rises and workers feel under greater pressure.

According to Mail Online, this would theoretically increase a junior doctor’s starting salary from £30,000 ($36,000) to £37,800 ($45,000).

Looking for other jobs

A recent BMA survey found that up to 40% of junior doctors are looking for alternative jobs, with a third looking for jobs outside the UK.

Like other health care unions involved in industrial action, BMA leaders argue that poor conditions and below-average pay are leaving the country’s National Health Service struggling to fill vacancies, ultimately putting patient safety at risk.

Commenting on the BMA’s survey results, Professor Philip Benfield, chair of the organisation’s council, said: “The situation is dire. A third of junior doctors are considering working in another country. Four in ten say they will leave the NHS as soon as they can find another job. The health service simply cannot cope.

“For decades the NHS has been the envy of the world. But without the skills of our doctors, the country will be sicker. We will not accept poor healthcare for our nation, or those who want to cut pay and lower living standards for NHS staff. In 2023 we will stand with patients. There will be, an organized workforce ready to act.

Some experts argue that the country’s long-standing recruitment and retention problems have also been exacerbated by external factors such as Brexit.

A recent report by think tank The Nuffield Trust found that many understaffed specialties are currently recruiting high levels of European-trained doctors ahead of the country’s vote to leave the European Union.

Hospitals are in a more vulnerable position

This is not the first time that junior doctors have staged a walkout. Back in 2015 they voted to strike over a contract dispute. The action was initially canceled after lengthy negotiations between the BMA and the government.

But junior doctors went on industrial action three times in 2016.

This time, hospitals are in a more vulnerable position, with a lack of capacity in social care keeping patients in bed longer than medically necessary and making it difficult to admit new patients. Meanwhile, many employees feel burned out after battling Covid-19 for nearly three years.

Hospitals have already faced a three-day strike by nurses and ambulance workers amid this highly stressful environment. In December, nurses restricted their activity on December 20 and 25, while ambulance workers limited their responses on December 21.

Employees of both groups may strike again on four dates in January if salary negotiations are not reached.

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