This morning junior doctors walked out for 24 hours in response to the proposed changes to their contracts. Junior doctors in the NHS covers those from new graduates from medical school up to those with 10 years or more experience. The measurable impact at present is that 10% of all planned treatments have been postponed; however the strike could cause additional lasting damage to the NHS through additional delays hospitals will encounter especially in relation to patient discharge from hospitals. The junior doctors are available to cover in emergency situations.
Talks had been ongoing with the BMA (doctors’ trade union) and the government about changes to pay conditions but they stalled and resulted in the call to strike. Today’s strike is one of three planned.
This strike demonstrates the impact of the costs struggles that the health and social care sector is experiencing. Costs pressures impact the social care sector as local authorities in particular do not appear to have sufficient funds to deal with an increasing need for social care and an ever growing elderly population.