Junior doctors vote for strike action!

  Flak999 14:00 19 Nov 2015

Junior doctors have voted by an overwhelming majority (98%) for strike action on three days in December.

They are angry at the governments threat to impose new contracts of employment on them that will see their protections against working excessive hours removed and the imposition of new rates of pay, which will see some doctors losing money.

Given the fact that when other groups of essential workers (emergency services, teachers and nurses et.al) go on strike they are monstered by the government and their employers. Do you think that the doctors have right on their side? Or are they just being greedy and uncaring, putting patients at risk during the busiest period for the NHS?

  Flak999 14:38 19 Nov 2015

It is a complicated issue and this article explains in some detail what the dispute is about and why doctors feel aggrieved. Personally I think the doctors have a case and I wish them well in their battle with the government.

I think this strikes at the heart of when is a contract of employment legally binding or when is it not. If contracts can be torn up or varied at the whim of an employer what is the point of them at all?

When an employer and an employee enter into a contract, commitments are made on both sides, if the employee is found in breach of their contract they can be dismissed. But it would seem that this doesn't apply the other way around, If an employer wants to vary or change a contract which they have entered into freely with the employee it would seem that they can do this arbitrarily or on a whim and the employee is expected to just role over and accept that this is the new reality!

How is this fair or legal?

  john bunyan 14:44 19 Nov 2015

Given the entrenched position on both sides - and somehow we need to improve weekend cover - I think binding, independent arbitration is urgently needed, eg ACAS or similar. A vote on this scale by such an upwardly mobile and intelligent group cannot be brushed aside.

  Forum Editor 15:31 19 Nov 2015

"Personally I think the doctors have a case and I wish them well in their battle with the government."

So do I, and so do I.

Looking at it from the other end of the argument, the government is (rightly) concerned that what is given to one part of the public sector in terms of any agreement could be the thin end of a very large wedge.

The word 'parity' will start being bandied about.

It is, as has been said, a complicated issue and I'm very glad I'm not the Minister who is going to be right in the firing line if/when it all goes horribly wrong.

  spuds 15:35 19 Nov 2015

The Prime Minister on television yesterday, went to great lengths to state that the new contracts would give junior doctors, better pay and less hours. Which makes you think, just what is true.

I recall when new contracts for GP's were issued a few years back, and how that was suppose to make GP's cover items like small operations,further specialist care and be more accessible to their patients, with the possibility of working 'after hours'.

In my neck of the woods, this never seemed to happen, and certainly not working weekends. But a number of GP'S state that they do work weekends, catching up on red tape and paperwork.Some of the GP's and most of the staff, in the practice I use, seem to work more on a part time rota, than anything else. And this becomes noticeable, when young newly qualified locums fill the gaps, and mistakes start to happen.

  oresome 21:14 19 Nov 2015

I don't know enough about the particular circumstances of junior doctors to comment in detail.

However they are on the first rung of a career ladder that leads to remuneration including pension benefits that is many times that of the average worker.

People become sick 24 hours a day. It is ridiculous that their chances of a successful recovery depend on the time and day of the week they become ill.

Since the recession started around 2008, many people have suffered a reduction in living standards and a reduction in job security. It is quite surprising that there has been so little in the way of strike action by organised groups.

Would I wish to be treated by a half-asleep doctor? No.

  Quickbeam 22:37 19 Nov 2015

With a 98% consensus, the government should realise that they are on the back of very lame foot on this one.

  Ungus 12:20 20 Nov 2015

They must be very unhappy with their new contracts in England and Wales to even consider this action as medical people are just not militant people I wish them well but I am sure the government will reach a solution with them especially now winter is here.

  spuds 12:50 20 Nov 2015

Possibly well off subject , but the multi-billion expenditure of the NHS certainly wants sorting out, especially when we hear about cost saving exercises, that actually in the long term, cost more.

How many private contracts have failed, with the companies being responsible for certain services are being fined, because they are not coming up to expectations, due to cutting corners, after being awarded these very lucrative contracts.

In my own region, we have nurses who are not very happy with their terms and conditions, plus loss of incentives, one like free or subsidized essential car parking. Over the years, the short fall of nurses as to be be made up with recruitment exercises overseas. Some of these people are coming in with the very basis requirements, and need further training at more added expense.

Coming back to private enterprise running various services, I have lost count how many times, my local newspaper as reported yet another incident or similar, when the contractor didn't even meet the basic needs, and have not only lost poorly paid and overworked staff, have at the same time had fairly large reductions in their workforces, which never seem to be replaced.Yet some of the senior management teams, seem to have a very good salary with added incentives, if their companies targets are met.

I use the NHS more now, than I ever did in the past. And through those regular visits to various consultants, I have seen many changes, which need addressing urgently, before the whole system collapses. I suspect this will not be in my lifetime, but certainly for future generations. But perhaps, that is want the government of the day (whatever party) want?.

  Forum Editor 13:37 20 Nov 2015


"But perhaps, that is want the government of the day (whatever party) want?."

You recently criticised me for picking on you, but this is a prime example of the type of thing which prompts my responses. Why on earth should any government want the NHS to collapse?

It's a ludicrous thing to suggest.

  spuds 14:02 20 Nov 2015

Forum Editor

"It's a ludicrous thing to suggest."


Spend as much time as I have over the past few years using the NHS. Then you might see what I am stating is correct, and you might consider changing your opinion. Isn't the NHS already in a state of collapse, with hospital running over budget, and making various attempts to meet those shortfallS,with great difficulties.

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