Senior physicians in England started a 48-hour boycott on Thursday in protest of their salary and working conditions, paralyzing hospitals and limiting care to just emergency situations.
In light of the ongoing cost-of-living issue in the UK, the significant interruptions are the most recent in months of industrial action by public sector workers.
They follow junior physicians’ longest-lasting strikes in the National Health Service’s history, which lasted just two days.
Since almost no work can be done in hospitals without being overseen by a top doctor, health officials believe the latest round of strikes to affect the nation’s public health system will have the worst impact yet. Thousands of operations and appointments have already been postponed.
Senior physicians and consultants in the UK will only be “on call” until Saturday AM for essential tasks like life-saving cancer treatment.
The British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, said the real-term take-home pay for doctors has decreased by more than a third over the last 14 years, and it accused authorities of refusing to engage in pay negotiations.
The Conservative government has offered doctors a 6% pay increase, but the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, called this “derisory.” Dr. Vishal Sharma, a union executive, claimed that many people in his profession felt “undervalued and overworked.”
The picket lines will be manned by consultants today because we are furious and at our lowest point. We never intended to be compelled to make such a significant decision,” Sharma said.
Ministers have done nothing at all to prevent this action from occurring.” Psychiatrist Polly Christodoulou, who joined the picket line in front of a hospital in south London, claimed that many of her coworkers have gone for the private sector or for other nations, such as Australia, because the pay there is much better.
Many of us have trained for almost 15 years to get where we are, and that work is not appreciated, she claimed. “I want to be able to support the NHS, but it is getting harder and harder,” the speaker said.
In recent months, nurses, junior doctors, and emergency medical technicians have all joined public sector strikes to call for more compensation to deal with rising food, energy, and housing expenses.
The UK’s inflation rate dropped from double digits earlier in the year to 7.9% in June, although it is still significantly higher than other Group of Seven nations.
The National Health Service, a renowned British institution that was founded in 1948, was already strained by a declining staff, enormous backlogs, and financial shortfalls even before the strikes.
Hospital CEOs have cautioned that the labor problems might cost billions of pounds and that officials and unions need to quickly come to an agreement to end the standoff.