‘It’s an absolute disgrace that we can’t afford rent’– York junior doctors explain why they’re on strike
Junior doctors are struggling to pay for rent and childcare – and that’s an ‘absolute disgrace’.
That was the message from the picket line outside York Hospital today as junior doctors started a three-day strike.
A large number of strikers from the British Medical Association (BMA) gathered at the entrance to the hospital carrying banners with messages including ‘No change in pay? We’ll move away’ and ‘Your Nan’s worth more than £14.08 an hour’.
The York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust says it has made contingency plans during the strike, and emergency cases will be treated as normal. You can read more about that here.
Dr Stephen McAleer, co-chair of the BMA Yorkshire junior doctors committee told YorkMix: “First of all, I would like to apologise to anyone who has had any appointments or operations cancelled today, it didn’t need to come to this.
“We have been requesting the government to discuss junior doctors pay for over two years.”
The BMA is demanding a substantial pay rise for doctors, with its latest campaign saying junior medics could earn more per hour if they worked in Pret A Manger.
“After studying for at least five years at university, a doctor graduating with more than £100,000 of debt is paid £14 an hour. We don’t think that’s good enough.
“This request is to restore pay to 2008 levels, which is only a fiver. So what we’re asking for is for junior doctors’ pay to rise from £14 to £19 an hour. So that is a fiver that this government doesn’t think the doctors are worth.”
‘Leaving in droves’
He said junior doctors were feeling the strain.
“Everyone is burnt out and feeling undervalued, after years of austerity, a pandemic and cost of living crisis, graduating with such starving levels of debt, being unable to afford rent and childcare.
“I think it’s unacceptable that doctors in 2023 in England are unable to pay for rent and childcare. It’s an absolute disgrace that a doctor cannot pay for such things.”
He said doctors were quitting the NHS “in their droves”.
“We do not have the staff in the system to deliver the care that our patients deserve. This just isn’t good enough.
“The government can do better, the country can do better, and our patients deserve better.”
Dr McAleer added: “Patients lives are put at risk every day, because there aren’t enough staff in the NHS.
“But during the course of the strikes, there are consultants and there are specialists who are still looking after patients on the wards.”