Week 3: Hero – Junior Doctors

by George_East on January 19, 2016

Doctor_hero_iconThis Week’s Hero of the Week award goes to the junior doctors for their strike over Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to impose new contractual conditions on them

Back in November 98% of junior doctors voted for strike action
over Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to impose a new contract on them. 98%! The figure rose to 99% on the question of industrial action short of strike action. Those figures should give something of the sense of grievance that the doctors feel about this. Remember this is not the highly paid consultants with their lucrative private practices, but the front line hospital doctors who you will see if you need to go into A&E or find yourself admitted to hospital when you are ill or need an operation.

Last week saw the first of those strikes.   You see Jeremy Hunt has done precisely what you’d expect of one of the most weasily and shyster-y members of the cabinet. Perhaps now that Grant Shapps has gone he is now the winner of that accolade too.

The ‘deal’ put to the junior doctors has been presented by Hunt as a 11% pay rise (and this has been repeated ad nusuem across a compliant media), but the truth is that it is a pay cut. The 11% pay rise is to the doctor’s basic pay, but 40% of their income is from shift allowances which would be cut under Hunt’s proposals. The current shift allowance system which sees doctors paid more at weekends and after 7pm would be replaced by basic pay on Saturdays and up to 10pm on weekdays. What is being proposed is less money for longer and more anti-social hours. The result is the first junior doctors’ strike in 40 years.

Of course this being the government it is, Hunt isn’t even prepared to negotiate with the BMA and says he’ll impose the contract. All of this generation of Tories have delusions of being Margaret Thatcher breaking the NUM.

So good on the junior doctors for standing up to this government in such numbers. The rightness of their cause was recognised by the public, who overwhelmingly backed the action 66% to 16%. Let’s hope they beat the odious little Hunt.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike Killingworth January 20, 2016 at 4:50 am

The Government is trying to abolish anti-social hours payments across the board: if doctors can’t have them, why should anyone else?

It has also ensured that Hospital trusts have huge debts they’ll never be able to pay until they start to charge patients, at least for food and bedding. This is not an accident.


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