Over 28000 junior doctors cast their vote in the BMA's ballot about whether proposed industrial action over the proposed new proposed contract. The result was unprecedented and could not be clearer: 98% backed strike action, 99% backed some kind of industrial action in opposition to this contract.
Junior doctors have been left with no choice but to take industrial action. The Government has not compromised on its crystal clear agenda to force junior doctors into working more hours for less pay, so that it can drive through its nonsensical "enhanced seven-day services" manifesto pledge in the face of a £22bn NHS efficiency savings program.
Despite the rhetoric from the DoH and NHS Employers, this remains an unfair and unsafe contract. Any potential inconvenience caused to patients by industrial action will be minor in comparison to the catastrophic long term risks to patient care resulting from an exodus of NHS juniors doctors if this contract is imposed. The same policy principles apply to other staff groups who are seeing their terms and conditions attacked, such as student nurses facing abolition of their bursaries.
Therefore, the National Health Action Party calls on all NHS staff and the public to back junior doctors through this difficult time. It is vital to understand that the underlying cause of this dispute and the real threat to the long term future of the NHS is the Government's ideological austerity agenda. This has left the NHS facing a funding gap of £22bn by 2020 on top of the £20bn of "efficiencies" we have experienced since 2009. That is why the NHS is in crisis. That is why the Tories are toxic to the NHS. It's time to stand with our junior doctors and our student nurses and fight back.
Watch this film made by Medicine For The NHS about the junior doctor contract
If imposed the new contract would
- Cut pay by up to 30%
- Increase the normal working week (paid at standard rate) from 7am-7pm Monday - Friday to include Saturdays and have each day finish at 10pm
- Remove pay protection for women who have children
- Reduce GP trainee salaries by 40%
- Put patients' safety at risk by removing the safeguards in place to stop doctors working dangerously long hours
- Watch this short film for an explanation of the changes the new contract would make
THE NHA JUNIOR DOCTORS SAY
We have had a real terms pay cut year on year for more than five years. The Government are sowing absolute chaos to distract from their errors and ideologically-driven dismantling of the NHS
As well as trainees in acute specialties, who have always provided 24 / 7 cover, GP trainees will lose massively when there are already problems recruiting. One advantage of all trainees earning basically the same, amount as at present, is that you recruit people who are genuinely enthusiastic about their specialty, rather than for financial reasons.
Having misleadingly harped on about weekend working - which is already done by junior doctors and 99.7% of consultants - Jeremy Hunt now wants to redefine what the weekend is: 9pm on Saturday night will be counted the same as 9am on Monday morning.
Junior doctors can strike and they can and will also vote with their feet. Trained doctors (with a substantial taxpayer investment) will go to North America and Australia where working conditions are much better.
Being a doctor means that you are busy at all times. We can't change our way of working as the emergencies keep rolling in. We will be doing precisely the same job for less money. MPs earn more than us and are recommending themselves a pay rise but we work with stresses of life-threatening emergencies daily and sometimes hourly.
If you're in the NHS you should be in the NHAJOIN NOW