I'm a junior doctor on strike in England, back for another AMA
It's 21:00, I'm going to stop answering questions, for the common questions which remain unanswered, see the end of this post
The strike ended at 17:00 today. I don't know where we go from here, but I hope it is towards a negotiated contract which is safe for patients and fair for doctors.
Hello, my name is Jon and I'm a junior doctor. Yesterday and today I've taken part in the junior doctors strike which is taking part in England. (The UK is made up of 4 countries, and only England has decided to impose a contract. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have decided to keep the one they've already got)
I posted an AMA when we first went on strike about 3 months ago and I thought a follow up might be helpful (original is here https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/40l8xw/im_a_doctor_working_in_england_and_were_on_strike/ )
This strike is different to our previous four strikes, on this occasion we have withdrawn all labour (including emergency and urgent care).
Feel free to ask me anything. Here's a couple of preemptive answers to questions that came up a lot at the last AMA.
Why are you on strike? The government and the British Medical Association (BMA) have been negotiating a new junior doctor contract for over 3 years. Talks broke down during last year and negotiations ground to a halt.
One of our strikes was cancelled while an arbitrator was brought in. ACAS (the arbitrator) could not broker a deal and the government decided to give up on negotiations and impose a contract upon us.
The government claim that a 7 day NHS was a manifesto pledge and that junior doctor contracts have to be reformed to make it easier for hospitals to roster us at weekends.
The BMA claim that the contract imposed by the government is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors. The BMA claim that without an increase in the total number of doctors, having more on at the weekend will reduce the number on during the
weekendsweekdays (Thanks to everyone who caught this mistake, tired doctors make mistakes). They also claim that by requiring junior doctors to work more weekends for the same amount of pay, that is equivalent to a pay cut.
I have read the government's imposed contract and I have read their equality impact assessment. The government freely acknowledge that the contract is discriminatory against women, people with disabilities and anyone who works less than full time (such as for research or for childcare).
If you have walked out on your patients, are they safe? Yes. I would not be out on strike if I didn't think my senior doctor colleagues and allied health professionals could provide safe and effective care. Have a look here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36151222
What is a junior doctor? We are qualified doctors, we've spent upwards of 5 years at university and are in training to become specialised consultants. In the American system, we're comparable to residents.
EXTRA COMMON ANSWERS
Haven't you broken the Hippocratic oath? No, we don't swear it in the UK. If we did it would prevent us from performing surgery or administering chemotherapy (including many other things.)
How is the new contract discriminatory? In a number of ways, have a look at this article - http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/Doctors_slam_junior_contract_for_discrimination_against_women
I work weekends, why shouldn't doctors? Junior doctors already do work weekends, this strike was not about us wanting to work less hours or to get paid more. I currently work one in three weekends. And I'm okay with that. My concern with increasing the number of doctors working at weekends is where will these doctors come from? We struggle to safely staff our rota at the moment, if junior doctors are spread thinner, what do you think will happen? I fully support increased staffing at night and weekends, but only if weekday staffing is kept safe.
Hasn't the government given you a pay rise? Junior doctors never asked for a pay rise, we don't want a pay rise. The government has increased our basic pay by 13.5% but changed the way we get paid for antisocial hours. The way in which they have changed our antisocial pay means that in my current job, I would lose roughly 20% or £9,000 a year. So no, the government haven't given us a pay rise.