Firstly many people don’t actually know what a junior doctor is. They think that they are doctors who are not senior. In fact they are doctors who are still being trained. And being paid whilst they learn. Being a junior doctor starts when they get their university degrees and finishes when they pass the exams to join a medical royal college relevant to the specialty they are practicing.
The basic starting salary of a foundation doctor (newly graduated from university) is £22,636 but having to work extra and unsociable hours attracts some additional payments. In 2015, NHS Employers reported the total annual earnings for foundation doctors in England averaged just over £36,000. While the basic starting salary for doctors in speciality training is £30,002, NHS Employers were reporting that average earnings in this group of doctors was nearly £53,000. Not bad for people who are still learning their trade. In Italy, for instance, junior doctors are unpaid for the first year, after which they get €1,660 a month.
Our NHS is actually pretty useless, it doesn’t seem to be any good at diagnostics, treats symptoms instead of finding the cause, kills more patients than most first world health service and has a tea and gossip culture because of their trade union domination. Anyone who has used the health service in another civilised country will tell you how much better it is elsewhere. The NHS is certainly not the envy of the world, far from it, and it has never been copied by any other nation, they have learned from our mistake.
When I was in hospital for a protracted stay my ward window overlooked a hospital staff car park full of Porches, Range Rovers and similar cars. At the weekend it was empty. So anyone having, say, a stroke a baby or a heart attack at the weekend is not going to see the best people. This is a matter of fact. Also a modern hospital is full of billions of pounds worth of equipment, scanners, operating theatres, radiation therapy etc. This is used for the 37.5 hour working week, the other 130.5 hours it lies idle, despite patients on waiting lists desperate for its use. No free market business would put up with this waste and inefficiency. It is amoral and NHS England are working to fix it, starting with 7 day a week hospital opening.
The doctors have a trade union called the BMA, which has been taken over by lefties as you can see above. These lefties are looking for a political fight with the government, part of the Labour party’s efforts to “weaponise” the NHS after losing the General Election. So they have chosen to go to war over the introduction of seven day working. And the junior doctors, who are just cannon fodder in a political battle, have fallen for it on the promise of more money. Just like a traditional 1960s industrial dispute. Greed is their driver, though they pretend otherwise.
There is agreement between the doctors and the NHS on 15 out of 16 issues. The strikes are about just one issue, weekend pay. It is absolutely nothing to do with safety. But if we pay 53,000 (about half of the total medical workforce) junior doctors more then there will be fewer hip operations and less cancer treatment. There is only so much money. Meanwhile the industrial action of the doctors will kill and harm patients, removing such a huge resource makes this inevitable. Research indicates an increased mortality of about 20%. The BMA must be proud.
Junior doctors traditionally work long hours, the proposed deal has an absolute limit of 72 hours in a single week, less than the current 91 hours, making our NHS safer. Doctors will not have to work for more than 48 hours on average due to the European Working Time Directive (ETWD), but they can opt out and work up to 56 should they want to. So part of the agreement is the doctors getting the same money for fewer hours, but their leftie, trade union driven greed makes them harm patients for even more. The current NHS offer would see basic pay rise by 11 per cent (edit, this has subsequently been increased by Hunt to 13.5%) with three quarters of junior doctors having an overall pay rise, and almost all others having their pay protected until 2019. Not enough for the BMA lefties.
The BMA say that many British trained doctors go abroad, this is true, 17,000 British doctors (not just junior ones) are working in other OECD countries. But 34,000 NHS doctors were born abroad. So the BMA are being ridiculous.
It is obvious that the extremist lefties at the BMA don’t want a settlement, they just want to create as much public sector strife as possible, their actions are 100% political. Harming the democratically elected government is their aim. They have zero interest or care for the health of patients, for the future of the NHS as an institution or even for the junior doctors who are their patsies. You can also the way that every left wing institution in the UK is supporting this industrial action, it really is a concerted attempt to weaponise the NHS. No wonder that Jeremy Hunt was reluctantly forced into implementing the unagreed contract, there really was no other way to resolve the dispute.
Overall the junior doctors are very much on the moral low ground, they are harming patients who they are meant to protect. They are doing this out of greed because they want a bigger slice of the NHS pie. And they are doing it purely to satisfy the political agenda of a leftie BMA leadership. Removing half the clinical staff from the NHS in industrial action must cause huge harm, otherwise why do we employ them in the first place? They are causing harm by the cancellation of very many thousands of operations and procedures, so people with problems such as aneurysms and congestive heart failure will die. People needing diagnosis of aggressive cancers before treatment will die sooner. And the much longer waiting lists will lead to people dying whilst waiting who otherwise would have been operated on. This is how the junior doctors are killing patients who they have trained to help, they must be so very proud.