News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Strikes: Christian GP warns ‘militant hard left’ union makes ‘realistic’ change harder for jr doctors

by Heather Preston

Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have launched a four-day strike in a dispute about pay that the head of Christian Medical Fellow (CMF) says needs to be reconsidered.

Junior doctors in England are calling for a 35 per cent pay rise to compensate for 15 years of below-inflation wage rises.

The NHS Confederation estimates as many as 350,000 appointments and operations could be cancelled this week, as a result of the walkout.

The BMA has said it can't guarantee lives won't be put at risk as a result of the disruption but emergency and urgent care will be prioritised.

The government has called the demand 'unrealistic'. Health secretary Steve Barclay has said his "door is open" if striking junior doctors want to begin meaningful negotiations on pay - but claims their starting position is too high.

GP and CEO of CMF, Mark Pickering tells Premier he agrees.

“None of these junior doctors were actually junior doctors or even at medical school hardly in 2008 so going back 15 years is quite a big ask.”

Pickering argues that the BMA is making a mistake by choosing to focus purely on pay rather than the struggles facing junior doctors:

“A lot of it is down to junior doctors’ working conditions, the stress, they're under the workload, the intensity, whether the rotas are well staffed and other conditions. So it's much more complex.

“And yet, the BMA has chosen to focus purely on the pay, in terms of the aspect they're demanding of the government.”

The BMA has said that a lack of investment in wages by the government has made it harder to recruit and retain junior doctors. It has warned that “if junior doctors are forced out of the NHS because of poor pay and conditions, the services we all rely on to look after our loved ones will suffer."

Pickering says calls for fair pay increases and fair changes to work practises are “perfectly reasonable” but he believes the BMA’s “unaffordable” request is detrimental to health care professionals.

“The problem is that the BMA who's doing the negotiations, they have really been taken over internally by a really militant hard left faction, and the ask is unaffordable - I don't see how any government can agree to that.

“Especially when you've got the Royal College of Nursing, recommending acceptance of a 5% pay-off (plus some extra one offs), the rail workers have accepted 9% - the gap between that and what the BMA is asking for is just massive. It makes it harder for individuals because then in order to do something, you've got to go along with what the BMA is suggesting and I think that's unrealistic. But then if you say, ‘I don't want to take part the strikes’, that suggests that there isn't a problem.”

Pickering has encouraged Christians to join him in praying for a reasonable outcome from the negotiations, an adjustment in the BMA’s ask and a credible offer from the government.


A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email