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Junior doctors’ strikes: are you in favour?

Junior doctors’ strikes: are you in favour?

Last week saw the latest wave of junior doctors’ strikes in the UK, as part of their ongoing opposition to the government’s proposed new contract. Over 19,000 operations and procedures have been cancelled since the start of the year, due to the strike action, which has had a profound impact on many of those affected. But are the public still sympathetic?

The latest results from market research conducted by Ipsos MORI show that the general public are still, by and large, very supportive of the junior doctor strikes. The research shows that just under 70% of those surveyed were in support of the original strikes back in February, which has only dropped marginally to 65% still supporting the latest junior doctors’ strikes last week. Only around 18% of those surveyed opposed the latest strikes, which has dropped from just over 20% of people surveyed opposing the strikes earlier this year.

So what’s going on? Well, another recent online survey discovered that 64% of people blame the strike action firmly on the government (and/or Jeremy Hunt himself). It is often said that the NHS is the jewel in the crown of our democracy, and 89% of UK adults are in favour of the NHS – many of whom will therefore want to support the frontline workers within the organisation.

The BMA's junior doctor leader, Dr Johann Malawana, said: "We deeply regret disruption to patients, and have given trusts as much notice as possible to plan ahead, but the government has left junior doctors with no choice. Ministers have made it clear they intend to impose a contract that is unfair on junior doctors and could undermine the delivery of patient care in the long term."

This statement resonated with the general public, and most people surveyed who were in favour of the strikes were willing to endure some short-term hardship to achieve a long-term solution that meant patient safety remained of the utmost importance.

The next two junior doctor walkouts planned by the British Medical Association, as they continue fighting the government's plans to change their pay and conditions, will take place in April. The BMA has also said it is beginning a legal battle to oppose the new contract.

What do you think? Do you support the Junior Doctors’ strikes, and if so why? Have you been affected by the walkouts? Or do you think the BMA should accept the new contract? We love to hear your opinions, so join the discussion on Facebook!

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