The much awaited strike action over wage increment and better conditions of service, by Junior Doctors in England commence today. The Doctors have described the silence and the neglect of the government as “baffling” and “frustrating,” as the five days walkout begins.
According to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, the strike poses enormous risks to the safety of patients and the doctors’ demand for a 35% wage increment sounds unachievable and “unreasonable.”
As the strike begins, thousands of scheduled appointments have been canceled or reschedule, while priority is placed on cases of emergency needs and those who require urgent treatments.
The strike begins at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 13 and ends at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18. According to the NHS, people who will be requiring the services of doctors throughout the strike, should contact 999 or attend to the nearest emergency room for medical treatments. Also, those with minor health issues, should visit the nearest pharmacy or NHS 111 online.
Moreover, patients will be notified, if their appointments need to be postpone, however, GP and community appointments will most likely be unaffected.
Stephen Powis, MD, the medical director of NHS England, stated that the health system was “entering an incredibly busy, disruptive period,” and that professionals were exerting every effort to sustain operations and deal with an excessive queue of patients awaiting appointments or treatment.
According to the doctors, for the past 15 years, the rates of inflation outweighs the salary increments that they’ve been offering, therefore, they are demanding a 35% increment in wages to make up for the past loses.
On the other hand, a 5% wage increment offered by the government, was describe as not “credible” by the British Medical Association (BMA), which oversees the welfare of Doctors in the UK.
About 86% of members of the British Medical Association, second the current walkout by the Doctors, which happens to be the forth walkout, since the impasse with government began.
Approximately half of all doctors assigned to hospitals in England are junior doctors, which make up 25% of doctors employed by GP offices. Over 46,000 Junior Doctors are represented by the BMA in the UK.
On the other hand, strike actions in Scotland planned by Junior Doctor were postpone, as a 17.5% increment agreement to the wages of Junior Doctors was tabled. However, the proposed 35% increment by Junior Doctors in England, according to Health Secretary, Steve Barclay “risks fueling inflation, which makes everyone poorer.”
“If the BMA shows a willingness to move significantly from their current pay demands and cancels these damaging and disruptive strikes, we can get around the table and find a fair deal to resolve this dispute.”Steve Barclay, Health Secretary UK.
The government has been encouraged to “reassess their entrenched position” by the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee, and resume to negotiating table.
Moreover, junior doctors, consultants, who are registering to offer their service during this period of strike, would also be embarking on a strike on Thursday, 20th and Friday 21st July 2023.
Consultants will provide what is being referred to as “Christmas Day cover” emergency treatment, combined with a very little amount of normal service.
Staff shortages, plenty emergency patients, and problems with discharging patients due to improper care in their community, also forms a different set of problems that the NHS is faced with in the hospitals, putting aside the five days long strike action by the Junior Doctors.
Currently, there are more than 7.3 million individuals on the waiting list, thus, three million higher than there were prior to the pandemic. Though the NHS is almost done with its waiting list of over eighteen months, one in 20 people have been waiting more than a year.