From 7 this morning (8 Italian), until the same time on Tuesday 9 January, English hospital doctors will strike in what is the longest mobilization in the seventy-year history of the NHS (National Health Service). Indeed, junior doctors, those below consultant level, will fold their arms in a serious escalation of their long-running pay dispute with the UK Government, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak strongly criticizing the action.
“The most difficult start to the year the health service has faced”
The protest comes at a complicated time for the health service, considering the growing pressure of winter respiratory illnesses, and comes following a three-day strike called just before Christmas. The mobilization, as reported by NHS spokespersons: “It will have a significant impact on almost all routine care”, with national medical director Stephen Powis announcing: “This January could be one of the most difficult starts to the year that the national health service has ever faced” The reasons for the strike announced already in December are linked to the lack of agreement regarding the increase in wages, with the British Medical Association defining the government’s proposal unacceptable, since it would not guarantee a uniformity between the different degrees of doctor. Mobilizations are also expected in Wales, with junior doctors expected to strike for 72 hours starting from January 15, in Northern Ireland, where a potential strike has been voted on, while an agreement has been found between their Scottish counterparts and the government of Edinburgh.