Junior doctors across England to embark on longest strike in NHS history

Junior doctors across England will walk out for five days from July 13, in what is said to be the longest single period of industrial action in the history of the National Health Service (NHS). 

Last week, more than 47,000 junior doctors, all members of the British Medical Association (BMA), staged a 72-hour strike from Wednesday to Saturday after the government put forward a 5% pay rise offer, which the BMA termed “paltry” as it pushes for a 35% hike to counter the impact of inflation.

Speaking about the financial crunch, Sumi Manirajan, a junior doctor, told Anadolu that they are earning 26% less today than in 2008.

Even experienced junior doctors with over a decade of service, entrusted with complex procedures such as brain surgery, are paid £28 ($35) per hour, she said.

“We’re just asking for £5 to £10 more per hour, and this is a demand that the government could meet if they wish to. However, this dispute has been going on … since August last year,” she said.

While the UK’s health care system has always had problems, things have lately taken a turn for the worse amid the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war, Brexit and a tightening cost-of-living crisis, according to reports by unions, universities and think tanks.

A study by Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, showed one in 10 health workers quit their jobs in the 12 months prior to June last year.

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