Junior Doctors in the UK are having a bit of a row at the moment with Government Ministers. They will most likely be taking industrial action or going on STRIKE in early December. Wait. What the what? Shouldn’t they be treating patients? Striking doctors. This is like Greek to me. This would never happen back home in the U S of A. I mean. Here are the facts:
Junior Doctors are objecting to the prospect of a new contract. The government has said that their current contract is ‘outdated’ and ‘unfair’ also, this contract was proposed way back in the 1990’s. Ministers drew up plans to change the contract in 2012 but talks between the ministers and doctors broke down. So, the government indicated that they will IMPOSE a new contract. Well, the BMA (British Medical Association) was all: Uh uh. Nope. Not gonna happen. Actually, they responded by initiating the process of industrial action. Wait-so, when do you treat your patients? Good grief.
This term is a bit leading. Junior Mints are still largely mints-are they not? Apologies for the horrible analogy. Junior doctors are persons who have JUST graduated from medical school through to those have more than a decade of experience on the front line. They are essentially doctors but they are ‘newbies.’
Also, the starting salary for a junior doctor is 23K per year-but with extra payments-for things such as unsociable hours, they can easily make 30K. 30K is like the equivalent to 1 MILLION US Dollars. I kid. The average earnings for those in the first 2 years of being a junior doctor (known as foundation training) is just over 36K. Those in speciality training state (known as registrars) get nearly 53K. Nice. Currently, there are 55K junior doctors in England-this represents a third of the medical workforce.
How is the contract changing?
The latest information provided by the government, which is the most detailed so far, includes an 11% rise in basic pay for doctors. 11% seems largely ‘meh’ they probably deserve more. Also, junior doctors work a lot of unsociable hours-this attracts an EXTRA payment. But this payment is being cut by 25%. Gosh. Stop quibbling over money-go save some lives you guys. Also, guaranteed pay increases linked to time in the job are being scrapped and replaced with a system linked to progression through set training states. This is no bueno. In fact, the BMA argues that this will affect people who take time off to have a baby. Perhaps they shouldn’t have babies-I mean, will there be any junior doctors around to help with the delivery? Or will they be on strike?
There are other issues but here is the crux of the matter- in December, Junior Doctors are going on strike for 3 days. This is pretty disruptive if you ask me. So, on the first day of the strike, junior doctors will STILL staff emergency care. On the other 2 dates, they will walk out. But thankfully, consultants, staff doctors and Father Christmas will be on hand to help plug in the gaps. I mean-save lives. Routine services will suffer for sure. Hip operations, knee replacements and routine clinics will have to be cancelled. Oh great. People are going to be sick and be in pain while junior doctors strike. I really can’t get my head around this. But then again, I am not a doctor. But I do play one on TV.
The last time doctors took action in 2012 it was over pensions. Again with the money, honey. So, the strike will go ahead. Luckily, GP’s (General Practitioner-just think ‘Doctor’) will still be open-and a GP surgery will have approx. 1-2 junior doctors working, so it shouldn’t be too bad if they strike. But seriously, junior doctors-go save lives. That is all.