So the Easter break is over and we are back to the creme realities of life. Tuesday was the first day of the second junior doctor strike of the year. We are not in a good place.

The BMA says it better than I could.

Junior doctors in the NHS in England are taking strike action in 2023 to:

  1. to achieve full pay restoration to reverse the steep decline in pay faced by junior doctors since 2008/9
  2. to agree on a mechanism with the Government to prevent any future declines against the cost of living and inflation
  3. to reform the DDRB (Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body) process so pay increases can be recommended independently and fairly to safeguard the recruitment and retention of junior doctors.

Fighting for pay restoration

Junior doctors have experienced a cut of more than 25% to their salaries since 2008/09. The lack of investment in wages by the Government has made it harder to recruit and retain junior doctors. This puts further pressure on the NHS and makes it harder to deliver care to the standards expected by professionals. 

The Government continues to refuse to negotiate with the BMA on junior doctor pay restoration leaving us with no choice but to call for a NHS junior doctors’ strike. BMA Council has endorsed a proposal from the junior doctors committee for an escalated programme of industrial action by junior doctors in England, which began with a full 72-hour walkout in March.

The NHS that we know is collapsing around our ears. There has to be a commitment to pay the staff what they’re worth, what they deserve. That has to be a commitment to make working conditions better so that staff retention and recruitment improves drastically, radically. And the answer is not simply to let the hard-working graduates drain away to foreign lands. The world does seem nonsensical at times. Foreign graduates come here to work, but are hampered by visas and other bureaucratic restrictions that make life very expensive and complicated to work here. Homegrown graduates refuse to tolerate the working conditions here, and are attracted by pay and better work, life balance elsewhere.

The whole thing is a nightmare.

In the meantime, I carried on working (I’m not a junior doctor but fully support their actions) from home today. Today was admin. I had multiple of reports to complete. I just plugged away with them. In the afternoon we had for once was a really good team meeting, talking about ‘challenging consultations’. We went through some case examples and talked about our personal experiences. We thought about how these situations might arise and how we might manage them and support each other. Actually really interesting. The last part of the meeting we thought about investigations for some of the various clinical presentations that we see. A thought-provoking and challenging discussion and good to reflect on my/our current practice. I never usually finish Tuesday meetings feeling in any way, that could be described as happy. I didn’t feel happy today, but I certainly felt that I’d learnt something and I certainly felt that I was part of a team in a way that I haven’t felt for a long time just because of the way that we are currently working.

I had also managed to make another peanut based stew for lunch. This time I used up the last of the pork belly that I placed in the freezer a few weeks ago. I think the chunks of pork belly with the fat added a little more taste to the mixture.

We ate it with a small amount of white rice. As usual there was plenty to go round. The rest of the stew lasted for the rest of the week and I had it for lunch on one of my clinic days with a crunchy rice cake.

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