There was a 50% turn out and 79% of GPs, 84% of hospital consultants and 92% of junior doctors who responded voted in favour.
Doctors last took action in 1975, when Harold Wilson’s labour government was in power. Consultants worked to rule from January to April after Health Minister, Barbara Castle tried to stop them carrying out private work on top of their NHS duties. In November, junior doctors took industrial action over low pay in new contracts. A deal was struck.
The 24 hour strike will be on the 21st June and while they will still provide emergency care, outpatient appointments and non-urgent care will be affected.
“We will be postponing non-urgent cases and although this will be disruptive to the NHS, rest assured, doctors will be there when our patients need us most and our action will not impact on your safety.”
Doctors have been hit hard recently with pay freezes, increased workloads and the prospect of increased pension contributions.
The latest changes will see doctors paying up to 14.5 per cent of their salaries in pension contributions – twice as much as some other public-sector staff on a similar salary in order to receive a similar pension.
While the right-wing media go on about doctors pensions being higher than most it doesn’t change the fact that the government are reversing on deals made four years ago. The media have been successful in their attacks on other public sector workers which have left doctors alone amongst the pubic sector with their pensions still in tact. There should be no pensions being cut in the public sector and we want to bring other pensions up, not drive them down. Doctors earn 10 times less than the corporate CEOs and bankers who are profiting from the crisis they created and driving millions into poverty.
Recently the RCN held a ballot where the majority rejected the government’s pension changes, however the turn out was low. We call for nurses, porters, cleaners and other hospital staff to strike alongside the doctors and that they should lobby their unions until they agree to do so. If the union leaderships don’t listen, then rank and file activists need to develop their own organisation to enable other hospital staff to take solidarity action alongside doctors and smash a hole through the government’s austerity agenda.
This vote shouldn’t just be seen as the doctors and their pensions; it’s about the government’s dismantling of public services. It’s a vote against the recent changes within the NHS and the selling off of our healthcare services!