Patients’ Health Threatened by Westminster Officials’ Policies amidst June 2023 Junior Doctor’s Strikes

Industrial strikes across the UK, particularly in England, are clear indicators of the catastrophic policies being implemented by Westminster officials. After discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that junior doctors in England will be taking additional industrial action. The Government’s neglect of junior doctors’ rights is posing a severe threat to public health. It is imperative for individuals to raise their voice against the Government’s destructive policies. 


When are the junior doctors’ strikes?


As i News reports, Junior doctors represented by the BMA will start their strike at 7 am on Wednesday, 14 June. The action will continue until 7 am on Saturday, 17 June. Junior doctors in England will have a fresh 72-hour strike in June for the ongoing dispute with the Government over pay.

The British Medical Association (BMA) is the union representing junior doctors. BMA has called the Government’s newest 5 per cent pay offer “paltry.” It has warned that strike action could continue “throughout the summer” if ministers fail “to put forward a credible” salary rise. Furthermore, the MA will call at least three days of action every month for the duration of their mandate for industrial action.


Why are the junior doctors going on strikes?


The BMA is demanding a pay increase of 35 percent. The BMA says this rise would represent “full pay restoration” after years of real-term cuts inflicted by below-inflation pay deals. The union says junior doctors have experienced a 26 percent real-term salary cut over the past 15 years. Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson are the BMA co-chairs. They say: “There’s nothing junior about junior doctors, yet our pay has been cut by 26.1 per cent since 2008.” They say they are simply asking to receive the pay they are worth. As Personnel Today reports, HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan says: “It is with no pleasure that we announce these fresh strike dates, but junior doctors have been left with no other option.”  


Negligence of junior doctors’ Rights  


According to Evening Standard, the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) union is striking over junior doctors being “taken for granted.” HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan says Junior doctors have held together patient care during a spiralling staffing crisis. In return for this substantial emotional, mental, and physical toll, they have faced a decade of real-term pay cuts totalling over 26 per cent.


Junior doctors leaving NHS


According to i News, BMA co-chairs say that the Government knows its pay offer is not credible. It’s a delaying tactic. The Government has left the junior doctors with no option but to return to the picket lines. The Government has not recognized junior doctors’ pay erosion. The officials have failed to acknowledge doctors’ efforts through Covid and are now failing the doctors and the NHS again.

According to Evening Standard, the BMA has announced the 72-hour strike in response to the Government’s low pay offer. The Government has offered a “paltry” five per cent pay increase. Junior doctors make up more than 40 percent of the NHS workforce.

HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan says the NHS is in an unbearable situation. He adds that junior doctors will not be taken for granted anymore. According to the BMA website, Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, say four in ten junior doctors are looking to leave the NHS. He adds that the health service staggers under a workforce crisis. According to him, the Government should not be playing games with pay at this critical time. He further emphasizes that while the NHS has been initiated, it is imperative for the Government to take a more severe approach.


Government officials are deceiving NHS staff


The Government does not intend to raise the pay offers in line with inflation. It tries to prevent the strikes by deceiving the NHS staff, including junior doctors. According to Evening Standard, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson says, “We hugely value the work of junior doctors, and we have been clear that supporting and retaining the NHS workforce is one of our main priorities. According to Personnel Todaya government spokesperson says the new pay offer is “fair and reasonable” and “surprising and deeply disappointing” that the BMA has scheduled another strike while talks are ongoing.


Government responsible for the threat to patients’ Health


 According to a source from the Department for Health, talks with the union have been ongoing for approximately three weeks and have been described as “constructive.” However, the union has been unwilling to compromise on their demand of a 35% pay rise, which is deemed unaffordable. The BMA, representing junior doctors, has criticized the Government’s latest 5% pay offer as “paltry” and has threatened to continue strike action throughout the summer if a credible pay increase is not put forward.

As reported by LBC, during the upcoming strike, junior doctors will walk out of routine and emergency care without any emergency cover, similar to their previous three-day strike, which resulted in the cancellation of 172,000 appointments and procedures. The NHS Confederation chief has expressed concerns about patients’ safety during this week’s strike action, unable to guarantee their well-being.

According to the Evening Standard, HCSA President Dr Naru Narayanan has cited factors such as declining pay, increasing workloads, and dangerous levels of understaffing as reasons for the strikes. He blames the Government’s lack of concern for allowing patient care to suffer due to their inadequate response to the situation.

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