The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Survey reveals British public stands behind all-out junior doctor strike

Of those who participated in the survey, most blamed the continued dispute over junior doctor contracts on the Department of Health

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The latest wave of industrial action undertaken by junior doctors from the 6th – 8th of April was largely supported by the British public, a YouGov survey found. 59 per cent of people asked approved of strike action, while 23 per cent opposed it.

The YouGov survey further found that almost half of the British population approve of and support the all-out junior doctor strike planned for the 26th – 27th of April between 8am and 5pm. This strike will be the first time that junior doctors will not be providing emergency backup.

Chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee, Johann Malawana, said: “We deeply regret the disruption this will cause and this is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“Junior doctors have no other choice—the new contract is unfair and would be bad for the delivery of care, and the NHS, in the long term.”

Previous polls revealed the likelihood of declining support if the junior doctors refused to provide emergency cover, however, the survey revealed that 45 per cent supported the strike, 38 per cent opposed it 15 per cent did not have an opinion on the matter.

Many participants of the survey, a total of 45 per cent blamed the Department of Health for the continued dispute over junior doctors’ contracts. Further outrage was spurred last week when the government announced that the new contracts they are planning to impose will “impact disproportionately” on women’s wages.

Dr Rachel Clarke told The Independent: “The Department of Health hasn’t even tried to hide the discrimination at the heart of its new contract. In other words, for [David] Cameron, the alleged champion of women, women’s salaries are mere collateral damage.”

To show support for the junior doctors a protest was organized by Plan C Manchester outside Spire hospital in Whalley Range Hospital in Manchester. The protest also meant to highlight the growing trend of the government’s healthcare privatisation and austerity strategies.

“We don’t want the public to be fooled into thinking this strike is just about Saturday working conditions. We want to support the Junior Doctors who are already fighting against the continued privatisation of the NHS and to keep the pressure on the Conservative Government” said Kevin, a member of Plan C MCR.

Holding banners reading “Stop the NHS Sale,” the group protested against Spire Healthcare who are in charge of delivering public healthcare contracts. The company came under scrutiny recently as it was revealed that spire had paid a total amount of £3 million in taxes in between 2008-2010 despite making an operational profit of £123 million in 2010 alone.

Plan C Manchester will be protesting alongside junior doctors in future strikes and want to encourage more people to support industrial action for improved contracts and a safer NHS.

  • Robin Was-Miles

    So pleased to see that there is clear reason behind this dispute. Until now, I was led to believe it was to get extra doctors to resource 24/7 o n the interest of patient safety and perhaps reduced weekly hourly commitment. The only questions now are:
    1.Have we sufficient doctors?
    2.What are the maximum weekly hours and shift pattern?
    3.When does the new contract take effect?
    4.How many existing doctors will leave their post?
    5.What contingency plan exists to replace them?
    6.How many patients will suffer unduly and fail?
    7.The will new 24/7 plan become operational and effective?