« Doctors and consultants were seen standing on the picket line outside the University College Hospital (UCH) in London on Wednesday, in the latest round of NHS strikes to demand higher salaries and improved working conditions amid an ongoing dispute with the government.
Footage shows a group of healthcare workers on the steps of the UCH holding protest signs from the British Medical Association (BMA) and cardboard placards with the slogans such as, ‘Diagnosis: chronically underpaid’, and ‘Your doctor is underpaid, overworked, burnt out and undervalued’.
Tens of thousands of junior doctors reportedly joined picket lines across the country on Wednesday, joining consultants, their more senior colleagues, who had staged a walkout a day earlier.
The latest round of industrial action marks the sixth time junior doctors have been on strike since December and the third walkout by consultants. Wednesday’s demonstration is also the first time in the 75-year history of the NHS that both junior doctors and consultants have joined picket lines at the same time.
“Doctors are leaving every day. We are 9,000 doctors short. We, junior doctors and roughly the same number of consultants. If we were to have the same amount of doctors in Europe per person, we would need 50,000 extra doctors.” said Dr Arjan Singh, a junior doctor spokesperson for the BMA.
The BMA is demanding a 35 per cent pay rise for junior doctors in England, claiming they have been subjected to a 26 per cent real-term pay cut since 2009 due to rising annual inflation.
Britain’s Conservative government is offering consultants a six per cent pay rise and boosted pensions, while it has proposed an annual average increase of 8.8 per cent for junior doctors.
“We do not get to a credible offer now to a resolution that settles or satisfies both parties. More doctors are going to leave,” Singh added. “It is going to be the people of this country that are going to suffer, unfortunately. »
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has claimed this proposal offer will be the government’s final offer, arguing further increases would risk fuelling inflation. »