Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Junior Doctors’ Strike

It’s time for serious dialogue, not playing politics

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 07 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4846
  1. Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight
  1. andycowper{at}

As public support for the junior doctors’ strike wanes, it’s time for the BMA to get real, argues Andy Cowper

To date the BMA has had five strikes over the new junior doctors’ contract, without noticeable success in advancing its cause. The most recent industrial action in April—the first full walkout—saw public support for junior doctors holding up but waning.1

Worryingly for the BMA, new YouGov polling data for the Times show a fall in public support for the strike.2 YouGov’s April polling found that 53% of people thought the doctors were right to go on strike, with 29% considering it wrong and 18% not sure. This week’s poll finds those figures substantially changed, at 42% right, 38% wrong, and 20% not sure.

This industrial action was originally called because negotiations failed to produce a satisfactory new junior doctors’ contract. Junior doctors’ passions were inflamed by Jeremy Hunt’s July 2015 “get real” conflation of the new contract …

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