I would really appreciate it if you would consider signing this petition if you or your family have ever used the NHS, value its ideals, or envisage using it in the future.
Basically, the UK government wants to cut junior doctors’ salaries by approximately 30% - this is a unilateral decision as they are unwilling to reach any compromise with the various medical unions.
‘Junior’ doctors, by the way, are any doctors who are not consultants, but by calling them ‘junior’ it means that it can get the public on its side with various derogatory attacks. As we all know, ‘junior’ anything are not really any good, so don’t deserve a decent salary (or so the newspapers tell us!). However, these doctors, who used to be called House Officer, Senior House Officer, Registrar, Senior Registrar, Speciality Registrar, are lumped together by the UK government, and by uninformed public opinion, as apprentices who know very little, but are all earning at least 100k a year!
Both my kids are doctors:
- my daughter is in her 8th year and is a Senior Registrar in Anaesthetics and ICU - she’s the one who comes running when your father or husband has had a massive heart attack and tries to bring them back to life. She’s the one on night shift who is the most senior doctor in the whole hospital, so is responsible for everything, while at the same time is in theatre as the only anaesthetist on duty. She’s the one who comes home at 4am when she should have finished at 10pm, because could she just walk out and let someone die if she could try to stop it? She doesn’t get paid for all these extra hours, because the NHS says that she has ‘chosen’ to donate her time. Her basic salary after 8 years and with all this responsibility is around 33k. She worked out once that if she divides her monthly salary by the number of hours she does she is earning less than the hourly living wage, much pushed by the government for low-paid workers.
- my son is in his 9th year and is a Senior Registrar in Emergency Medicine at the biggest trauma centre in the UK - they don’t get the broken legs and bad coughs; they get the hugely awful emergency cases, where the likelihood is that the patient will die. The fact that many of them don’t is due to people like my son (who is quite often attacked by the distraught relatives!) - all these ‘junior doctors’ who are the workhorses of the NHS.
Just for your information, this table shows the starting salaries of various graduates; look where the doctors come - and then they want to take 30% off that.
If the government rams this through then the NHS is on its way out. At present it runs on the goodwill of the Junior doctors and the other professions in the hospitals, but this goodwill is fast running out and our young British doctors will start voting with their feet and go to countries where their professionalism and hard-won knowledge is valued more, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada.
I just signed the petition asking the various medical Colleges to take action on this, and hope you could help by adding your name. If you agree with it, please pass it on to other UK friends who may be interested in what is happening.
You can read more and sign the petition here:
Thanks, Denis. I appreciate the good wishes.
Thank you for the explanation. I'm sure the doctor in the audience claimed that lots of doctors, through this cut in wages, were applying to work abroad which seems frightening.
I also signed a petition from "38 degrees" a very successful organisation promoting your cause.
It seems to me as being intentionally orchestrated to break up the NHS. The health service in France does not seem to have the same problems,then again they are paying more taxes.
I wish you and your son the best of luck
I have tried so hard to reply to your previous comments about Question Time, but twice now I’ve been thrown off without warning, so let me see if I can answer this time.
The 30% referred to was the estimated drop in the salary of the junior doctors. In 3 days last week over 1600 doctors applied for the Certificate of Good standing - normally it’s about 20-25 a day, so a HUGE difference.
However I would be really interested to know how many of these are doctors in training programmes. I suspect, with no evidence whatsoever, that the majority will be those in their 2nd year post-graduation (the Foundation programme) or doctors who are finally coming to the end of their training and the next step will be applying for a consultant’s position. The reason for this belief is that if those in training (the registrars, senior registrars, etc) went abroad they would probably not be accepted onto training programmes, as the majority of countries rightly save most training positions for their own graduates. This means that the government has them over a barrel.
Thanks to you and others who signed the petition, the Royal Colleges have now issued a joint letter to the government, pointing out the ramifications for patient care if they were to force through this new contract: fewer doctors, fewer medical students, longer hours therefore impact on patients, demoralised and exhausted staff. Hopefully the government might see sense and rethink the situation.
Meanwhile, the junior doctors are holding meetings that consultants are also attending to try to think of the way forward. Do they work to rule / strike / refuse to do paperwork / refuse to sign death certificates? The biggest problem is that they are their own worst enemies, as not many would walk away from a suffering / bleeding / dying patient. However, it seems that only strikes work; look at the Tube strikes. As a parent, I want them to strike; as a human, I don’t see how they will. No matter what action they take, the idiots who believe that ‘junior doctors are apprentices who don’t deserve a salary / they should work for free for 5-10 years to pay back the cost of their degrees ( despite the fact that new graduates are coming out £80-100,000 in debt) / they all get over £100,000 so what are they complaining about / our taxes pay their salaries (so doctors don’t pay tax?)’ will moan and complain. I swear, they will complain more when there are fewer UK-trained doctors to treat them.
So, now we wait and see what happens . . .
Lesley, after watching "Question time" last night, one doctor in the audience implied that following this pay cut, 30% of junior doctors have now applied for the required forms to work abroad. I am wondering what impact this will have on our so called "best health system" in the world. I for one would hate to have to return to the UK for treatment.
Thanks, Dennis. Every little helps
Thanks, Kent. Appreciated
Hi Nick, I fear the fall will come sooner rather than later
Re privatisation: I know that in one hospital where my daughter has worked, the orthopaedic surgeons (consultants) have set up their own company and do work privately for the NHS at weekends - in the same theatres where they work during the week. For each knee replacement they clear £3000, so are doing extremely well. So privatisation has come into the general hospitals as well - thin end of the wedge?
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I cannot believe what I have just read. "There is no shortages of nurses" obviously a Daily Hail reader. This is the reason I moved to France, God help us.
The "privatisation" card is such an emotive topic - perhaps brought into perspective by recognising that all GPs are already "privatised", and have been for decades. Their health centres are either limited companies or partnerships, contracted to the NHS.
However I certainly share your fear of a US-style system, which has roughly 5x the cost per head, for clinical outcomes that are if anything worse than the UK (and the UK is hardly a leader in this respect - France is rather better generally, but probably spends more than our 7% of GDP).
Overall my point (if I have one) is that these are very deep-seated and fundamental questions that sadly no politician feels able to raise - the NHS carries far too much political risk for that. So we will muddle along from government to government until the whole thing falls over (which may not be too far away).
To answer your question, I don’t know the answers, I’m afraid. However, I suspect that the UK government is sneakily aiming for privatisation of the NHS. Proof? None; only suspicion because the huge cost of what we have just now is unsustainable.
However, do we solve the problem by taking approximately 30% of every doctor’s salary? At present this doesn’t apply to GPs or consultants; only those doctors who are 1-8/9/10 years into their training (and it’s not because they keep failing their exams, as one Daily Mail reader commented!) Do this and many of them will leave. Also, if they succeed in this, it will no doubt happen to the other grades also. No health service can run with a further paucity of doctors; already they are being run ragged to cover the present gaps in the rota. We have to remember that the majority of young doctors are in the profession because of a passion for medicine; it’s certainly not for the money - and that’s before the proposed cuts.
Re my second question (it IS a question, not a point), what are your thoughts? To add some data to this, in 2014, spending on health was £129B, or 18% of total spend, 7% of GDP. On the growth assumptions above (GDP at 2% and health costs at 6%), by 2025 health costs would be £245B, or 11% of GDP, and 27% of overall government spend. How could we afford this? What do we stop doing? Educating our kids? Paying pensions? Heart transplants?
(I would add that achieving 2% GDP growth is ambitious in itself, and could only happen with significant immigration to counteract the ageing population - it we only managed 1%, health would reach 30% of spend)
To answer the simple question:- I wasn’t actually asking a question about the NHS, I was explaining what is happening. I’m aware from reading previous discussions that quite a few British expats in France may return to the UK, or they still have family there. For these reasons I thought it was reasonable to raise the topic here.
Your 2nd point; I 100% agree with you that there has to be control over spending on health. However, should we really agree with the government that it’s ok to save money by taking it away from the doctors? There are too many idiots in the UK, who come up with statements like ‘They’re not real doctors, so they shouldn’t have a salary, only a stipend.’ or ‘We paid for their training; we don’t need to pay for their huge salaries as well.’ Or ‘They’re just greedy, wanting more money.’ They ARE ‘real’ doctors; they’re highly qualified with ongoing very expensive exams to pay for to become better. Most of the present juniors have debts of at least £45,000 from the basic fees for their training. They’re not complaining because they want MORE money; they’re complaining because they don’t want a huge CUT in their salaries. Would you, would anyone, be happy with this?
Thank you for your thoughts. The more this is discussed the more people may become aware.
Hi, Colin, yes I am personally involved, as you can see from what I said initially. However, I am a teacher myself, and am well aware of how hard people like your son work, BUT he is not being faced with being told that his salary will be cut by around 30%. He, I’m sure, is not being told that his ‘sociable’ hours of work are from 07.00 - 22.00 six days a week. He is not being told that the government intends to remove any penalties from the Trusts (his employers) for increasing the work hours to unsafe levels.
Regarding salaries, I believe they are set by the government, which is why the government can decide to cut the salaries of whoever they want. It’s not, as far as I’m aware, set by the NHS managers in separate Trusts to decide how much to pay. We do need to save money in the NHS, but do we do it by penalising the doctors who are the workhorses that keep the whole thing going? Already there are so many vacancies on clinical rotas, which is why Trust managers are in many cases paying a fortune for locums from their budgets. When the present not-yet-consultant doctors leave, how will it save money having to pay ludicrous fees to the agencies that supply the locums?
Yes, one does see a lot of overweight nurses (it’s the boxes of chocolates that come from patients). Can I say that you don’t usually see an overweight junior doctor; they’re too busy running around (often literally! Why do you think so many of them wear trainers?)
Thanks for your comments, and for saying that they deserve a decent wage; that is what they are not going to get if this goes through. Already it has been reported that when this news broke, over 1600 doctors applied to the GMC for a Certificate of Current Professional Status - this is what they need to apply for overseas positions. Of course, not all of them will leave, but this is the highest number ever in such a short time, which is worrying.
Two questions, one simple, one much more complicated:
1. Why use this forum for a question about the UK health service?
2. The costs of running the NHS are rising at around 6% per annum, due primarily to an ageing population, augmented by medical advances keeping more people alive. GDP grows at a long term trend rate of around 2% per annum. These two figures are unsustainable in the long term, meaning much more fundamental decisions will need to be considered and made, such as: What proportion of our GDP we are prepared to spend on health? What proportion of our tax take are we prepared to spend on health? What other services do we stop spending on? What proportion of GDP are we prepared to accept as the right level of taxation? And even more contentiously, as the money runs out in the NHS (as it inevitably will, no matter which government is in charge), what aspects of healthcare do we cut first?
Lesley, you are involved on a personal level with the problems within the NHS and I would agree with your comments that something needs to be done. However are you mixing up the responsibilities? On one hand you decry the 'government' and then the NHS (managers). Who is responsible for setting salaries for doctors and ward cleaners? I doubt that the 'government' is involved at that level.
Yes our Goverment is committed to reducing expenditure and quite rightly. It has been said many times that throwing more money at the NHS (and other emergency services) is no answer, it needs better management.
I have been in NHS hospitals many times both as a long term patient and long term visiting sick relatives and (as an ex accountant) I am appalled at the apparent wastage of resources, for example nurses stood around chatting and wards deserted because of compulsory 'breaks'. When recently visiting my mother in law who had a stroke, we regularly had to in search of staff to prevent other elderly patients from getting out of bed. There is no shortage of staff, they are just not doing their jobs. I was told my a male nurse who was looking after me ( after a 12 hour shift) don't feel sorry for me, I work four days on and four off, and the reason a lot of the night nursing staff were so obviously overweight was because they spend all night talking and eating.
Yes of course all health professionals deserve a decent wage to recompense for the years of training, and this salary should be much higher than a ward cleaner, NHS manager who spend their 9-5 days in 'meetings'; or even politicians who achieve nothing, but who can or is willing to address the anomaly.
My family are all in the teaching profession and my son regularly texts me at 1 am when he has finished lesson planning and marking for the next day. Not all 9 -3 for them either.
Here’s another reason why it’s all so ridiculous:
This shows an NHS jobs page - a job for a 1st year doctor and one for a ward cleaner; guess which one is obviously valued more and gets more money?! And this is before the government cuts the salary!
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