‘Despite agreeing to major reforms in 2008, that made the NHS pension scheme fair and sustainable, doctors are now being asked to work much longer – up to the age of 68 years - and contribute more – up to 14.5%, for their pensions – twice as much as equivalent civil servants. We are not looking for preferential treatment from the Government, but we do want fair treatment.’
“Absolutely…” you might think… but then you are probably a fellow medic!
It is, however, obvious from today’s newspapers, where there is widespread condemnation of the planned doctors’ strike, that this is no easy sell to Jo Public…
‘Fat cat’ doctors to hold 24-hour strike for routine operations and GP appointments
Shame of £100,000 doctors’ strike vote
Patients' bitter pill to swallow over doctors' strike threat
Doctors' strike 'could put patients at risk', says Health Secretary ...
GP strike: Shabby, disreputable and just plain wrong
This chorus of outrage deafens the public to the arguments behind industrial action. ‘Greedy’ and ‘neglectful’ are not descriptions of doctors that win much, if anything, in the way of public support. Doctors seem unable to lose the public perception / tag of being overpaid and out of touch with those struggling in private sector employment, however much we doth protest.
And then there’s the choice of industrial action – or inaction as the case might be. Personally, I would prefer to have seen a withdrawal from all commissioning work for 3 months. This would make little difference to patients, with no direct consequences, keeping them onside, but still deal a potentially more telling blow to the non-negotiating government.
GP doctor – patient relationships remain the bedrock of our profession, which we risk at our peril. Unfortunately, the government are well aware of that, thus having us by the short and curlies…
Judging by the media reports there seems to be a great risk of losing this particular argument before it has even started.
I can’t help but feel that even if we win, we lose…?