NHS strike: ‘Gaps in rota due to people leaving the profession’ says concerned doctor

Consultant registrar Dr Hugh Adler
Consultant registrar Dr Hugh Adler

The NHS faced its biggest ever strike this week as junior doctors and consultants walked out together in a first for the health service.

The industrial action was expected to bring planned care to a halt with thousands of appointments cancelled, as the row with the government over pay and working conditions continued.

Consultants in England walked out for 48 hours from Tuesday, and were joined by their junior colleagues on Wednesday. Junior doctors will continue their strike on Thursday and Friday.

NHS workers in Merseyside stood together on a very rainy picket line outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital on Wednesday morning as they walked out in the dispute over pay and we joined them to hear their grievances.

Consultant registrar Dr Hugh Adler told LiverpoolWorld: "It’s not a decision that’s been taken lightly. It’s something that the junior doctors and consultants will have agonised over. We can already see on days when there isn’t a strike there are gaps in the rota due to people having left the profession for financial or mental health reasons, which means we are not able to deliver the care we want to deliver.

“There’s issues with services being underfunded. Sadly, patient care in the NHS is suffering. We’re hoping with our strike action to highlight this. To highlight the changes needed to the pay and working conditions so we can retain and recruit the best and brightest so we can deliver better care going forward."

The British Medical Association says the government’s pay uplift of just under 6% is an insult to consultants. They’re asking for an above inflationary pay award for 2023-24.

The government’s Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: "This week’s co-ordinated and calculated strike action will create further disruption and misery for patients and NHS colleagues.

"Doctors who started their hospital training this year are receiving a 10.3% pay increase, with the average junior doctor getting 8.8%, and consultants are receiving a 6% pay rise alongside generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask."

The government broke down negotiation talks with junior doctors in England back in May. Over the weekend, there were fresh talks between the government and consultants but at this stage, an agreement has not been reached.