Unprecedented Medical Intern Strike Shakes England’s Healthcare


The longest strike of “junior doctors”, medical interns, begins this Thursday in England for five days. They denounce a decline in their standard of living since the financial crisis in 2008. Negotiations are at a standstill with the government, and patients are suffering.

The “junior doctors” began their new strike at 6 am UT this Thursday July 13 and this, until Tuesday at the same time. This is their longest continuous mobilization in the history of the British public health service, the NHS, according to the BMA (British Medical Association) union.

In the United Kingdom, “junior doctors” have a status similar to that of interns in France. They represent about half of hospital doctors, ranging from young doctors just out of university to practitioners with more than eight years of experience. This walkout takes place as the government must decide on wage increases in the public sector, while inflation remains stuck at 8.7%, the highest among the G7 countries.

Fourth movement

This is the fourth movement of young doctors in six months, after the strikes of nurses and that of paramedics last year. The list of patients waiting for a medical appointment is growing: 7.4 million have still not received appropriate treatment. The interns are asking for a 35% salary increase. The government offers them 5%. But no question for Arjan Singh, who is part of the union of young doctors. ” It’s ridiculous. You have to contextualize what 5% means: it’s 70 cents more per hour. This is nothing compared to the fifteen years of wage erosion that we have experienced in previous years. We should be paid according to the skills we provide to health services,” he says.

Exhausted and not recognized at their fair value, the consequence is that these doctors in training go abroad, deplores the profession. There are 8,500 vacant doctoral positions in the country. Today, there could be 35,000 strikers. The union of young doctors recommends alternating between picketing and hiking with colleagues in order to get some fresh air and recharge the batteries.

After the “junior doctors”, the “consultants”, more qualified doctors, filed a strike notice for July 20 and 21.

This article is originally published on rfi.fr


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