30 May 2012

Doctors’ strike will challenge the government

At a recent dinner with some NHS managers, the prediction – at least by some – was that the doctors would vote to take industrial action but on a small turnout and by a narrow margin.

How wrong could they have been. A 50 per cent turnout is a robust response and far higher than recent ballots from other public sector unions. In short, doctors are angry. Not just about their pensions but also about the health and social care bill.

There is a view – and this is one held by some even in the British Medical Association – that industrial action over what amount to excellent pensions was not going to garner a lot of sympathy in this current climate.

The doctors’ argument is that, proportionately, they pay more for their pensions than other public sector workers.

Wherever people’s sympathies lie, this is a difficult moment for the government, to be presiding over policies which will lead to the first industrial action since the 70s.

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