Junior Doctors have become increasingly infuriated by their working conditions and the proposed new contract, which will stop them from prevent them from receiving extra pay during Saturday day shifts.
Junior Doctors are angry as the new contract means normal weekday working hours would be until 10pm, instead of 7pm, meaning that the premium rate of pay would only begin at 10pm.
David Cameron has threatened to impose the new contract with immediate effect unless the dispute is resolved soon.
NHS hospitals were badly affected last Tuesday by the industrial action, after only 38.5% of junior doctors who were working the day shift turned up for work.
King’s College Hospital in London gave a statement, saying: “Patient safety is our top priority during the planned industrial action. In preparation, the Trust reviewed rotas to ensure there was adequate cover on wards and in our Emergency Departments. Consultants rearranged their schedules to cover for their colleagues. While a small number of urgent operations and outpatient clinics did take place, the majority of non-urgent procedures and clinics had to be re-scheduled. In total, thirty-five elective inpatient operations were postponed, and 27 outpatient clinics – affecting 450 patients – had to be rescheduled.”
It has been made clear that there was no decrease in the quality of the public healthcare provided, and in fact it is quite plausible that healthcare was improved since consultants and other experienced staff were covering.
Many staff had arranged days off which had to be changed at some inconvenience to them, because they needed to cover for the 16,000 junior doctors that failed to come to work.
A rather alarming and vital issue that regards junior doctors is the high rate of divorce and suicide amongst junior doctors, according to Gwilym Morris, an honorary clinical lecturer at University of Manchester and a Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist. He said that the NHS is being used as a political football and that if the doctors can’t be supported and valued by the government the NHS will collapse under a workforce crisis and patients will die.
Dr Gwilym Morris also added that 50% of junior doctors have dropped out of training, thousands are planning to go abroad and a large proportion of medical students are looking at other careers.
Doctors in Gaza were trending last week on social media after showing their support for the junior doctors in the UK, with one commenting: “I decided to stand in solidarity with junior doctors of the UK in their rightful strike.”
The doctors were protesting against the new contract proposition, but also for the purpose of getting their message heard and being able to express their anger at the current situation. The extreme pressures that junior doctors are under means that there is a much more increased likelihood of mistakes happening.
92% of members of the public interviewed in Manchester at least understood the action and agreed with it, with those who didn’t agree saying that the contract was fair, though it is more than likely that they had insufficient knowledge of what the contract entailed.
Junior doctors have an average basic starting salary of £22,636 which works out considerably less than other post-university careers.
Written by Ryan