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UK Doctors Planning to Strike

UK Doctors Planning to Strike

Austerity measures are likely to hit most of the public sector in the United Kingdom in the coming months. Just last month,police officers joined together with other public sector workers such as prison officers and immigration officials to protest cuts in pension plans.

Now doctors are taking a stand against changes in pay and pension policies. The British Medical Association announced this week that its doctors plan to strike on June 21. In a vote conducted by the BMA, with a 50 percent turnout, the majority of doctors voted to take action. The vote was conducted in six branches of the large organization, which boasts about 160,000 members, the Guardian reports.

The June 21 strike will include a suspension of routine medical visits and check-ups, but emergency treatments and tests for serious diseases, such as cancer, will continue. A vast majority of GPs, hospital consultants and junior doctors voted in favor of the suspension of non-urgent care.

The strike is in response to changes in pension and pay standards that are expected to go into effect in 2015 in England and Wales. The changes include the age of retirement, which would move up from 65 to 68, as well as raising the amount medical professionals pay into the pension system.

Some doctors are very critical of the move to strike. BBC picked up the story of an BMA member, Dr. Dan Poulter, who decided to quit the organization after the decision to strike. The BBC quoted Poulter as saying:

This is going to damage the reputation of the medical profession and it’s going to hurt patients.

In 2009-10, the average GP was earning 106,000 and, under the new scheme the government set up, the average doctor, on retirement, will receive a pension of 68,000 a year.

We need to be able to afford the pensions and afford to look after people in terms of funding the NHS and it’s important that doctors pay their fair share along with everyone else.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has also stated that the public will not sympathize with the doctors’ strike. NHS officials argue that the doctors are dragging patients into the middle of a debate and endangering effective and efficient care. Furthermore, many officials claim that the pension system for doctors in the UK is one of the best in the world, retaining the same comprehensive pension for new doctors starting their work this year.

Admittedly, medical professionals tend to pay into the pension system at higher amounts, but this measure is set to guarantee that all retirees will receive the 68,000 pension at the retirement age. The strike also comes in the wake of potential and vast changes to medical establishment in the UK.

The BMA has been especially critical of Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposed changes to the NHS system over the last few months. Many doctors fear that Cameron’s hopes for change involve a marketization of the medical field, which will be detrimental to patients and doctors alike.

Cameron’s government has been moving to cut public sector spending over the last two years, causing massive unrest among professionals and citizens.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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42 comments

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12:38PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

They do indeed have a right to strike.

However, I'm finding it hard to sympathize when someone goes on strike about their pension and that pension is going to be £68,000 a year, from the age of 58.

10:17AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

There have been Dr. strikes before, and I remember reading that the death rate always went down during them. Seems kind of odd.

3:08PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

They have the right, like every person has.

2:46PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Therer are two sides to every story but depriving people of the healthcare they need does not seem right.

11:59AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

BS do you really think that the last Government of the UK was responsible for the current economic crisis? You state "after Labour government left the country in such a mess". It might have escaped your attention but the whole world is in a mess, do you think that the last UK Government is responsible for that as well?
Most economists, possibly not those who write for the Daily Mail, would suggest that the reason behind the current economic crisis began, in large part, from the deregulation of the banks in the US and the UK. Margaret Thatcher, a very famous Tory, was British Prime Minister during much of the time this de-regulation was taking place.

8:26AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

This is another example of Care2 sensationalist headlines to grab readers attention, a bit like the headlines coming out of the Murdoch press.

Here is the truth behind the "Day of Action"

"On that day, doctors will be in their usual workplaces but providing urgent and emergency care only", wrote the BMA.

YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY......STOP FAMILY ALLOWANCE FOR FAMILY WHO HAVE MORE THAN 2 KIDS..........
WE WILL SAVE MILLIONS!!!
AND THE PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

5:50PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

they get plenty of money . Enough as it is. how sickening and GREEDY. i wud like to c them manange on 90£ a week. Its a disgrace the way the current ecomony is at the moment. Whats wrng wiv them all a load of idiots and useless anyway.

3:54PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

3:54AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

If the nhs stopped allowing free treatment to the rest of the world then it wouldn't be in the state it is. Visitors come and visit "relatives" have hospital treatment then clear off to their own country.

5:41PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Others are having to pull their belts in to get the economy going after Labour government left the country in such a mess. Why shouldn't doctors do their bit and accept cuts, other people don't get a choice. Doctors get paid very good money so at least they won't have to struggle to buy food like others

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