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Junior Doctor Strikes – The Facts

In February, Junior Doctors voted for strike action. Over 77% voted, with 98% voting in favour of strikes.

These figures are daunting, to put it mildly.

However, it has not stopped there. Since then, events have only worsened. This July, Junior Doctors are planning to put their foot down and walk out, for the fourth time this year.

So, what’s really going on – and how did we get here?

Here’s 4 key factors to summarize:


One of the key factors for the strike action is, as stated by the BMA official website, to “achieve full pay restoration to reverse the steep decline in pay faced by junior doctors since 2008/9.”

The BMA’s members claim that due to factors including inflation, their pay has been cut by 26%. Therefore, because of this, they want a pay increase of 35%.

As of the 14th of July, the Government has finally agreed to increase pay by an average of 8.8%. This has come after an extensive period of complaint, and whilst it is an improvement, this percentage does not meet the desired increase that junior doctors are demanding for.


“Junior doctors have held together patient care amid a spiralling staffing crisis” said HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan, before affirming that “Enough is enough”. Narayanan also stated that “Our NHS is in an intolerable situation”, with junior doctors having to endure a “huge emotional, mental and physical toll”.

According to the results gathered by BMA surveys, approximately 7 in 10 junior doctors state that they work in understaffed rotas, in addition to 77% of these doctors claiming that they have ‘felt unwell as a result of work related stress’.

The NHS staffing crisis has hit the NHS hard. Amongst the struggle, Junior Doctors have been at the forefront. The workload has simply been unbearable and unrealistic for many.


With all these elements combined, a significant concern for quality of care is concocted.

The conditions that junior doctors are subjected to render them unable to maintain a high standard of care. This is reinforced by Dr Narayanan, who asserts that the government is “content to let patient care suffer” in their refusal to change the way things are in the NHS.

Ultimately, the purpose of the NHS is to provide high quality of care to patients and, as a result, provide good health to our country. But with our doctors being treated as they are, this is an impossibility.


Overall, a consensus is shared amongst junior doctors in feeling undervalued. This is a result of many factors, but predominantly a result of falling pay, increasing workloads, and alarming levels of understaffing.

Although, in addition to this, there is also a huge lack of progression for Junior Doctors. The numbers of medical students are increasing; however, the associate training posts are not. Consequently, there are a huge cohort of doctors who remain entrapped in the same position, with little hope for career development.

This results in demotivation and increasing dissatisfaction amongst junior doctors. A survey in December found that four in ten junior doctors were actively planning to leave the NHS, in addition to a third of junior doctors planning to move abroad.


Here are some further key points extracted from the Nuffield Trust website:

· The starting basic salary for foundation year doctors in England is only £29,384.

· The average annual NHS earnings of a ‘junior doctor’ in England in the year to March 2022, including those working part-time, was £55,420. This average has fallen £4,900 behind inflation between 2010/11 and 2021/22, which is predicted to rise to £9,500 in 2022/23.

· Even before the current financial year, typical salaries for all junior doctors had fallen by 7.9% in comparison to 2010/11 levels.



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