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Junior Doctors Strike Again In The Biggest Walkout In Healthcare History

Blessing Nkama

Junior doctors across the country have walked out for the tenth time since last year due to pay disputes. This has resulted in at least 113,779 appointments and surgeries being cancelled at the busiest time of the year for the NHS, and the rearrangement of more than 1.3 million appointments. This has been estimated to cost the NHS more than £1 billion.

They rejected the government’s proposal in December

The British Medical Association (BMA) had requested a 35% increase in pay to rectify the pay cuts due to below- inflation pay rises. They rejected the government’s proposal in December for an additional 3% rise on top of the 8.8% given earlier last year.

Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, who co-chair the BMA junior doctors committee, commented about the unreasonable proposal: “Instead, we were offered an additional 3%, unevenly spread across doctors’ grades, which would still amount to pay cuts for many doctors this year.”

Driven junior doctors away from the NHS to other countries

Junior doctors have experienced a 26.2% drop in the value of their salaries since 2008. Before pay rises, junior doctors typically earned £14.09 per hour (basic pay). This has increased to £15.53 per hour since 2022/2023 which the BMA has criticised as not enough, and has driven junior doctors away from the NHS to other countries with better packages such as Australia.

This strike undermines Rishi Sunak’s pledge for shorter waiting lists which has increased significantly. “NHS elective waiting lists have continued to rise, with numbers in October 2023 almost 500,000 higher than in January 2023.”

Blessing Nkama

Featured image courtesy of Hush Naidoo Jade Photography via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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