Thousands of doctors in England have begun the ‘longest’ strike in health history

LONDON: Britain’s government-backed health care agency is facing what is said to be a crisis over thousands of doctors England started a five-day wage hike on Thursday.
The so-called junior doctors, who are at the beginning of their career in the National Health Service in the years after medical school, started their latest strike at 7am, with many of them presenting their case for a 35% pay rise. picket lines outside hospitals across England.
The British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, has called for a 35% pay rise to bring junior doctors’ salaries back to 2008 when inflation is taken into account. Meanwhile, the number of 75,000 or so GPs in England has increased as patient waiting lists are threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today marks the start of the longest journey for doctors in the history of the NHS, but this is not a story that needs to go down in the history books,” said BMA leaders Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi.
They urged the British government, which oversees public health legislation in England, to stop the “nonsense” of non-conversation while protests are taking place.
The government, which is facing many protests by civil servants in many sectors, has stood by its decision not to negotiate while the strike is ongoing.
“The five-day walkout by junior doctors will affect thousands of patients, put patient safety at risk and undermine efforts to cut NHS waiting lists,” Health Secretary Steve Barclay said. “Payments of 35% or more are unreasonable and will lead to inflation, making everyone poorer.”
Britain, like other countries, is struggling with rising prices for the first time in many years. The rise in prices was caused by the crisis caused by the pandemic and then by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which caused the prices of energy and food to rise. Although inflation has fallen slightly from its peak to 8.7%, it is still above the Bank of England’s target of 2%.
The doctors’ strike will cause major disruption to an already struggling NHS, with surgeries and consultations being suspended or cancelled.
Dr Simon Steddon, chief medical officer at Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’s trust in south London, urged both sides to return to the negotiating table amid concerns about the impact on patients.
He added that 55,000 appointments and about 6,000 scheduled procedures had already been canceled or rescheduled at the hospitals under his control as a result of the previous strike.
“Thousands more will need to be suspended over the next few weeks increasing delays, disruptions and the risk of delays in diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
The striking doctors say they are aware of the impact of the move on the health service, but insist they are left with no other option.
“This is not a celebration, this is years of low wages, low conditions, depression, and this is what has reached its peak,” Alex Gibbs, a 31-year-old doctor said outside University College Hospital in north London. .

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