Tag Archives: Maclean

Watch this junior doctor shred Tory claims about strikes

The Tory government’s policy on strike action by junior doctors was shredded into mincemeat when health minister Rachel Maclean tried to argue it out with Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chair of the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctors’ Committee on the BBC’s Politics Live (June 14, 2023).

Challenged over whether junior doctors should begin a strike in a heatwave, he pointed out that the NHS is in crisis whether in a heatwave or not – and specialist staff were in place to handle any respiratory issues (for example).

He pointed out to the government minister, whose salary has remained stable up to the present day, that her government has cut pay for junior doctors, repeatedly, for the past 15 years.

This is in line with overall pay stagnation across the UK since 2005, that has been reported recently. Tories like Ms Maclean have presided over the longest period of pay stagnation since Napoleonic times, while making decisions that made inflation skyrocket. Ms Maclean had claimed that pay is rising and this is not true.

The housing minister said strikes must be called off for talks to continue, but Dr Laurenson pointed out that this is not practical for junior doctors – they would be disarming and putting themselves in a position where the government could simply continue to cut pay, year on year.

The government didn’t even recognise the full recommendations of the “supposedly” independent pay review body that said without addressing junior doctor pay there would be a significant impact on patient safety, not because of strikes but because of the effect on productivity and staff retention, said Dr Laurenson.

Challenged over whether it was practical to give junior doctors the 35 per cent rise that would replace all the pay they had lost, he said it’s an increase from £14 per hour to £20 per hour, which is not a huge hike.

And when MPs have managed to keep their own already-high pay at parity with its level in 2010, they don’t have a leg to stand on.

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