Doctor’s Will Quit if Hunt Pushes Contract

Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike in London (File)

A survey revealed almost 90% of junior doctors would consider quitting in protest if Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s 7-day NHS contract is forced on them….reports Asian Lite News

Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike in London
Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike in London

A poll of 1,000 medics run by campaigning doctor Ben White said just under 90% would consider resigning if the terms are pushed through against their will. The survey, carried out online by a junior doctors’ network not affiliated to the BMA, asked for medics’ GMC numbers and promised to keep their details confidential.

The survey result appears as thousands of doctors stage a 24-hour walkout on Tuesday after failing to reach a deal.

Anna Quigley of Ipsos MORI, which ran the phone survey of 847 adults, said the dispute was “harming the government more than the doctors”.

Another survey by professional pollster Ipsos MORI showed the public puts the blame for the dispute squarely at the door of Jeremy Hunt.

Some 64% say the Health Secretary is more at fault for the 24-hour action, compared to just 13% blaming the doctors and 18% blaming both sides.

“Strong support” for striking doctors rose from 41% last month to 49% now. People opposing the strike also rose, from 16% to 22%.

Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike
Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike

Overall 66% of people support the strike on the understanding emergency staff aren’t included, the same as in January.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Medicine is an attractive career and we’ve already agreed improved safeguards and better training and education for junior doctors with the BMA.

“But the BMA continues to refuse to talk through the outstanding issue of unsocial hours pay, despite their agreement to do so in ACAS talks in November.”

The second wave of industrial action by thousands of junior doctors started on Wednesday after negotiations over pay and new contracts failed.

The second 24-hour strike has led to the cancellation of almost 3,000 operations on Wednesday. About 38,000 junior doctors in England went on strike last month over the same issues. It was the first industrial action by British junior doctors in nearly 40 years.

The British government wanted to put the National Health Service (NHS) on a seven-day working basis and tried to introduce a new contract for junior doctors, who were concerned about whether they could premium payments for work on Saturdays.

The British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union for 170, 000 doctors in Britain, proposed accepting half of the 11 percent basic pay raise offered by the government in return for retaining extra payments for working Saturdays. However, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reportedly rejected the proposed deal.

Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike
Junior doctors working with the NHS on strike

Junior doctors joined the walkouts on Wednesday in many cities around the country, including London, Sheffield, Manchester.

“Last weekend, thousands of us took to the streets of London and Bristol to show that our fight for a properly negotiated contract continues. (Today) we raise our voices again, on hundreds of picket lines across England,” said Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctors committee chair, in a message to junior doctors ahead of the industrial action.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told local media: “Our members are saying to us ‘this really does need to reach a conclusion.’ The ideal conclusion would be for employers to make a fair and final reasonable offer and for the BMA to accept it.

“If the BMA doesn’t accept it, our members are saying to us that the secretary of state has to find a way to bring this to a conclusion. Three thousand operations are being cancelled today, we can’t carry on like this.”

Well-known British author J.K. Rowling, who is married to a doctor, said she supported the junior doctors’ strike on her Twitter account on Wednesday.