Friday, 2 September 2016

New Junior Doctors' Strike

In the spring of 2016, NHS junior doctors went on strike for the first time ever in the Service's seventy year history. They did it to protest against new contracts which will cause a cut in their pay and increases to their workload. There was a lot of public support for them and they even wrote a song that went to the top of the hit parade, see: This has become the biggest act of industrial action ever in the NHS. Strikes in the NHS are a very serious matter. When the railways go on strike long distance commuters might miss a day's work. When health services go on strike people die. There's no doubt about that. This is the dilemma we face. However, the state of healthcare in Britain today is such a sorry one that I think it is now immoral not to strike. We need to do whatever it takes to change things. Far more people will die from our inaction than from any walkouts. I made this point over last year's JR porters' strike, see: The first junior doctors' strike could begin as soon as the 12th of September. Coverage of the strike in the media has been predictably scathing. Here's a prime example: The word "plotting" is deeply pejorative and the article emphasizes the loss of service the strike will cause, therefore portraying the doctors as selfish and heartless.

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