As the junior doctors to go on strike on next Tuesday (Dec. 1), Kanwal Toor compiles a vox pop on the issue. The patients are going to caught in the crossfire between Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and junior doctors….Asian Lite News
As the Government pushes for a ‘seven-day NHS’, doctors are seemingly abhorred by the changes the “new contract” brings. For us, the thought of medical practitioners being on strikes for three days is daunting.
During these strikes, the doctors will provide emergency care only, for 24 hours from 8am on 1 December, followed by full walkouts from 8am to 5pm on 8 December and 16 December. But what is the fracas? Why are doctors disconsolate and the government resolute about the changes? Here is a simple explanation for the souls who have missed out the action.
Junior doctors’ leaders are objecting to the prospect of changes proposed by the government due to come into effect in England in August 2016. According to the doctors the contract could see them losing out on higher rates of pay on evenings and weekends which can be unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors.
The contract will lead to pay cuts of between 15 and 30 per cent and force many junior doctors to work more unsociable hours. Female junior doctors will be hit the hardest, as pay protection for women who have children will also be lifted.
The government has described the current arrangements as “outdated” and “unfair”, pointing out they were introduced in the 1990s. Government has offered 11 per cent rise in basic pay in a last-minute attempt to head off a strike.
The health secretary’s proposal would see a new doctors’ salary rise from £22,636 to £25,500.
Jeremy Hunt insists that the changes would mean that three-quarters of junior doctors would receive a pay rise and the majority of the rest would have their pay protected.
“These proposals offer better basic pay with increases based on responsibility instead of time served, a shorter working week and improved patient safety”, he says
Asian Lite Readers’ Version
Reena Ranger: Councillor – Moorpark & Eastbury
The success of the NHS is evident. We are living longer and illnesses, disease and conditions that were once terminal can now be diagnosed, managed and cured. The NHS today, its capabilities, advances and the number of people who use it daily may truly have been beyond the expectations of those whose who founded it in post war Britain. Our unique system is one to be proud of.
Most people, and doctors included, would most likely want to see a 7 days a week NHS in the truest sense.
It is correct to say that we have emergency care 24/7 but many a doctor will candidly tell you that they would not want a family member to be admitted into hospital over the weekend. In order to truly be a 7 day a week NHS we require all the same levels and types of staff who work on a Monday morning to be there on a Sunday morning, for elective surgeries to continue over the weekend, for diagnostic staff to be diagnosing and all the people in-between and around to be in work seamlessly. Consultants are in work over the weekend but they require the same infrastructure of a weekday on a weekend. The junior doctor (those who are not consultant level) has been the source of contention and the looming strike shows how much junior doctors feel that they have been unfairly treated. To achieve this vision of a 24/7 NHS the Government and BMA must work together, through negotiation, collaboration and a shared vision for both patients and staff so can we develop a NHS for the challenges of tomorrow…
Iqbal Latif: Hotelier, Philanthropist
Doctors work far too hard and are paid far too less. They save lives and work all kind of hours. They should be properly remunerated. Not many professionals end up working 72 hours a week. The Government needs to look after doctor’s interests.
Farah Ahmed: Radio presenter
I think the government is wrong in this. Nobody wants to work for free. In the end of the day these people are saving lives. As far as I know Mondays to Fridays are working days and Sundays are officially free. If doctors are asked to work at the weekends, they should be paid accordingly. Normal working hour’s rates won’t work. The Government has to give them incentives, otherwise why should they work?
Amna Maroof: Trustee – CWC (Collective for Women & Children)
It is very positive that junior doctors are now in talks with ACAS. It is important to avoid a strike, as a strike would be detrimental to the medical services provided in this country. Doctors are a vital part of our daily lives and we must respect them and look after them. NHS is a great institution and no matter what we cannot let misunderstanding between the government and the doctors effect what NHS can offer. Hopefully this is sorted out soon.
A new analysis of strikes around the world, found no evidence that death rates among patients increase on strike days. Well, that is reinsuring. But surely there is a way this melee can be dealt with, and soon. According to me is NHS deteriorating. With pressures mounting on this ever stretched system, things are getting bad to worse. NHS arose from a good idea – that people should be able to get good health treatment without financial worry. Unfortunately for Britain, this was acted upon at a time when centralised state socialism was at its height. That is not the case anymore. With an ever growing population and people pouring into the country for free benefits (such as the NHS); something needs to be done quite briskly. Whether or not the Chancellor’s £3.8bn cash injection will do the trick, to save this institution from a total debacle, only time will tell.
Kanwal Toor is a former Miss India International. She is mother of two & Founder/Trustee of Collective for Women and Children