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Healthcare Crisis: Two-thirds of UK junior doctors, senior hospital medics ‘actively considering’ leaving NHS

Healthcare Facility in the UK Photo: The National

*The UK Government’s rejection of the Royal College of Nursing’s pay request of 19 percent for nurses is accelerating more strike dates being added, besides another poll indicating the most senior hospital medics are planning to leave January 2023

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In view of the current staff shortages and real term pay cuts contributing to the culture of dissatisfaction in the healthcare sector, two-thirds of junior doctors in England have considered leaving the National Health Service (NHS) in the past 12 months, research has shown.

ConsumerConnect learnt the concerned junior doctors in England have sought alternatives to working in the NHS in recent months.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak 

The results come ahead of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) ballot of junior doctors, set to open January 9, 2023, asking whether they support the instrumentality of strike.

The union said that junior doctors, who received a 2 percent pay rise 2022 had seen their salaries over the past 15 years reduce in real terms by over a quarter, The National report stated.

This refers to all doctors until they become consultants, General Practitioners (GPs), or specialists.

According to a poll conducted by the BMA on 3,819 junior doctors in England during November and December this year showed 79 percent “often think about leaving the NHS”, while 65 percent “have actively researched leaving the NHS in the last 12 months,” report said.

It was gathered that the NHS, still reeling from massive backlogs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, has this year been rocked by strikes, and threat of further action remains in the horizon.

Lingering labour dispute over ‘Fair Pay’

Amid the ongoing industrial action, thousands of ambulance workers across England and Wales walked out in the run up to Christmas in a bitter dispute over pay.

After the Royal College of Nursing’s pay request of 19 percent for nurses was rejected by the British Government, more strike dates were added for January next year.

The announcement came after two days of strike action in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the lead up to Christmas.

Meanwhile, industrial action is also being considered by doctors in Scotland and Wales amid the cost of living crisis in the United Kingdom (UK), according to report.

Report had indicated, that BMA Scotland announced earlier December 2022 its junior doctors would be balloted in the first quarter of 2023 on striking in a battle over pay.

The organisation’s Scottish Junior Doctors Committee said December 8 it had “reluctantly entered into a trade dispute with the Scottish government”, following talks over pay failing to reach an agreement.

It was gathered the dates would be outlined in January for industrial action in the NHS in Scotland as staff claim the government in Holyrood has imposed a pay offer despite overwhelming rejection from three health unions.

It is recalled that days ahead of Christmas, the BMA Cymru had announced doctors in Wales were considering embarking on strike for the first time ever.

Almost two-thirds of the just under 1,000 hospital doctors surveyed by the union this month said they would be willing to take some form of industrial action, including strikes, over their current pay and conditions, report noted.

The BMA’s Welsh Council chairwoman, Iona Collins, December 22 called the result of the survey “upsetting to all” and said it is “gut-wrenching for doctors to consider walking away from work.”

Leading doctors recently warned the NHS was “in danger of complete collapse”, with a poll revealing over two in five of the most senior hospital medics are planning to leave in the next year.

The survey by the BMA found that 44 percent of hospital consultants in England plan to leave the NHS, or take a break from it, over the next year.

Among consultant surgeons, the figure was 50 percent.

Dr. Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA consultants’ committee, said that NHS doctors “are on their knees”, following “years of demoralising real-terms pay cuts and chronic staffing shortages.”

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