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"Why I Support the Striking Junior Doctors": Our messages to Health Secretary Steve Barclay

Organise members are telling Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, their personal reasons for supporting England's striking junior doctors.

Chloe Green
April 12, 2023

Organise members have voted overwhelmingly in support of striking junior doctors, with more than 85% in favour. Vote in the poll and check out the results, by clicking here.

Here are just a handful of the messages we're sending to Steve Barclay, to share why we support the junior doctors on strike in England.

Striking junior doctors deserve fair pay for their hard work 🏆

"As a retired public servant I know just how it feels to receive next to nothing as a pay rise. I strongly believe that the junior doctors and all medical staff deserves a decent pay rise. For their hard work and dedication they should be rewarded accordingly. Day in day out they work tirelessly to save lives and bring lives into the world. Whilst doing their job they are sometimes faced with abuse from the very people they are trying to look after. Please, please these valiant men and women deserved to be treated better."

"I have always been so proud of the NHS which started the year I was born. The doctors and nurses deserve so much more than they receive. They put themselves in danger during the pandemic (still are). This government I feel, is intent on privatisation of our health service and our health practitioners are trying so hard to stop this happening. Like all public service workers whilst this government has been in power, have seen their salaries eroded. So wrong!"

"I worked for the NHS for 26 years including through the pandemic. I know how hard all NHS staff work and how often they stay beyond their shift to make sure patients are well cared for. There comes a point when this is no longer sustainable. That point arrives when you don't feel valued so look for where your skills will be valued. Unless we reward our NHS staff fairly, we will lose them to other jobs or other countries. As hard as it is for care-givers to strike, they are thinking of the future of the NHS. You must do the same."

"I use A&E and other parts of the hospital quite a bit due to the severe pain that I am suffering from due to the osteoarthritis in my left shoulder. I keep going to my doctors about it and they normally say to me is go straight to A&E. I really appreciate the hard work that they all do. They deserve a very decent pay increase due to the long hours that they have to work. Please please please just do the decent thing and give the junior doctors etc what is long over due."

"I am getting old, I have a number of health issues and am on an NHS waiting list. I want to be sure that an adequately staffed and funded NHS will still be there for me in future years."

Unless we reward our NHS staff fairly, we will lose them to other jobs or other countries.

"I work with junior doctors who teach medical students to be future doctors. They do an amazing job and they do thus balancing teaching with clinical work. They do so much for so little. It's very unfair and things need to change dramatically."

"Doctors (junior, and not so junior) work so hard in a very demanding job with long hours, few breaks and little thanks. Their job is absolutely essential to the population of the UK and a functioning workforce/society. The least we can do is pay them more for their worth and expertise. If we let the NHS collapse because staff are burnt out and under appreciated, meaning they leave the profession, this will be terrible for a civilised society and result in a massive difference between rich and poor and the health care they are able to access."

"It is a necessary, difficult job requiring years of training and examinations (paid for by themselves) and daily hours of overtime - so it needs decent pay!"

"Having been a nurse for over 40 years I could not fail in support the junior doctors."

"I have multiple health issues which require hospital attention and I would like to know that the doctors treating me are being appropriately rewarded both financially and with good conditions of work. If they're happy I'm sure they'll give a better interaction with all patients."

"Junior doctors have studied hard for many years to get to this stage. The nature of their training means that it is impossible to get a part time or holiday job, as people studying other subjects might do. Once they begin working they carry a huge responsibility and often work long hours. It is completely unfair that they should be remunerated as poorly as they are. Financial concerns should not worry these dedicated and hard working professionals."

Wages for junior doctors need to increase in line with inflation 📈

"If the Government can honestly say that the Junior Doctors’ wages have kept up with their own wage increases over the past 12-13 years. If they can say that the junior Doctors did not work their butts off during the pandemic I will not believe them. They are worth much more than £14-09 an hour."

"They are the difference between life and death, and have trained for the best part of a decade - they're saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of student debt, and they have £14 an hour to look forward to. This is just not adequate, fair or right. Listen to their demands and let's retain and entice more talent to our NHS."

"We expect professionalism but are not paying professional rates. Devaluing practitioners devalues our health service."

"Junior doctors are worth more than £14.09 an hour, they have in-real terms a pay cut. The high responsibility they have deserves more pay."

"Please see below my reasons for supporting the doctors on strike, we rely on them to care for us but if they can’t make ends meet they will go abroad! Please please help us to keep our doctors and pay them accordingly for their worth - 7 years training.

- The cost of living has very significantly increased. Junior doctors income has very significantly decreased. This has to be addressed.

- They do a miraculous job and their pay should reflect that.

- Junior doctors deserve our support and respect, they are the future of our health service and if we lose them they are irreplaceable. Decimated pay rates is a scandal and £14 per hour is very far from fair. Do the decent thing."

Junior doctors are the difference between life and death, and have trained for the best part of a decade.

"My friend's granddaughter is a junior doctor & she works very long hours which works out at about £14 per hour. This is ridiculous, she has a PHd & is well qualified. No-one should be expected to work these hours & the pay of junior doctors should be greater, no wonder so many of them leave the country & more will follow if they do not receive a sensible pay increase."

"The striking junior doctors deserve a decent pay increase, as do many front line workers. When I was working, I earned more than them and my job wasn't as difficult as theirs."

"Because the junior doctors were there for us during the pandemic and put their lives at risk. MPs since 2010 have seen their salaries rise by 30% while junior doctors have had a pay cut. If we do not pay them a reasonable salary they will leave and go to a country that recognises their value."

"As Health Secretary you claim the junior doctors' pay claim is "unreasonable", what is unreasonable is their serious underpayment over the last 10/12 years under successive Tory governments."

"Doctors are there for the nations health, if you really care for the people you are paid to serve you should be paying Doctors what they are worth. Do you really think £14 an hour is a decent wage for a Doctor? It's a shocking disgrace, you need to fix immediately."

"The majority of people in the UK think the same that Junior Doctors have had a real-terms pay cut in the last 15 years, and their responsibilities are worth more than £14.09 an hour."

"I support the striking doctors because their pay scale is a disgrace. I have paid for medical insurance since I was 15 years old and I am 75years old this year. I have always believed that our NHS is the pride of Britain but to pay them a meagre £14.09 per hour (which is not a living wage), while asking them to give their time and talents to people who need them... peoples lives are in their is an insult., Sir pay them a decent wage so that we can attract the best."

"I was earning £14 an hour as a secretary 10 years ago with no qualifications. Doctors have had years of training and are definitely worth more."

The NHS cannot afford to lose junior doctors 🩺📈

"I have lost access to NHS dentistry in my local area. As a pensioner I cannot afford the fee required for private practice. The Tories will be totally rejected if the service of doctors follows the same pattern. The failure to recruit and train sufficient doctors is the most significant failure of the present government, together with inadequate recruitment of nurses, social workers, teachers, school support staff."

"In anything you build you make sure the foundations are correct and stable for the future, junior doctors are our NHS foundation, they should be given every opportunity to remain within the NHS, finance plays a big part in that alongside respect for what they do, pay them what they're worth and show some respect for what they do"

"Junior doctors obviously do a massively important job in the NHS, for which they work hard to qualify and thereafter to simply keep going because of the pressures of their work. Therefore, I support their action for more pay and I would like to ask you, please, to negotiate with them in good faith and get the dispute resolved. They are in the right and they deserve to be rewarded for their vital work."

"Junior doctors are overworked and underpaid. Many of them have enormous student debt and have to live in Poor conditions. They are leaving/emigrating and we need them to want to stay. If bankers can get bonuses, junior doctors should have appropriate remuneration."

"Because of low wages doctors training in England on graduation will be lost to other countries, we need to keep them here."

"Please give doctors a reasonable wage so that staff are retained and good people attracted to the NHS"

"Dear Mr Barclay, I completely support the current action by junior doctors. They, together with our nurses, are the core of the NHS, something that as one who was born before its inception I treasure and value greatly. I know, from evidence of close family members, that many of our young doctors are leaving the NHS and this trend will, I feel sure, become exponential. We cannot afford to lose more doctors and to prevent this loss they need to know in tangible financial terms that they are greatly valued. Additionally, I feel sure that a higher salary would not only keep them in the NHS but would be influential in maintaining our NHS as we would all wish. Is the Tory party intent on getting rid of the NHS? That's what it has felt like over the last decade!"

"Doctors are probably the most valued members of society. I find it astonishing that we pay them a THIRD of what they would get in Australia and at least half what they get in Canada Germany and France. This is appalling."

"Being a bully is not the behaviour befitting of a minister. You have lost the public on this, so get negotiating. The spin is not getting any traction and this posturing is now an utter joke. You could burn 1 billion in useless PPE, so how about investing in the health of the Nation before they all leave!!"

"I support the striking doctors and ask that you pay them what they ask for. They deserve far more than their current level of only £14.09 per hour for the hugely responsible work they do. They are very highly trained and should be paid accordingly. Everyone I know agrees with this and wants you to act quickly to pay them what they ask and deserve. Thank you."

"Junior doctor starting salary in: • Australia: £60,000 • Canada: £46,000 • France: £43,700 • USA: £41,900 • UK: £29,384 Any ideas why our junior doctors might be leaving in their droves? We simply cannot afford to lose these skilled dedicated professionals. Please consider a realistic pay rise rather than the real terms pay cut in the last 15 years."

"Our health care used to be the envy of the world. If Dr's are not paid what their worth they'll all leave! They are highly skilled and should be paid as such! The fact that the government doesn't value them at all it seems is very sad. Real term pay cut after pay cut says they are not valued at all."

I support the striking doctors and ask that you pay them what they ask for.

"The numbers of junior doctors leaving UK has increased because of stress and poor working conditions in the NHS, so for market reasons alone we should demonstrate our support for them by negotiating a pay rise as a start to improving their conditions."

"Dear Steve Barclay, I support the striking juniors as I feel their pay is far too little for the responsibilities and stress the job carries and the long hours they work."

"The doctors on the strike are loyal to the NHS. The alternative to their sinking real term wages is going private which is a big danger."

"Junior doctors are highly skilled and do a difficult and stressful job. We will all need their skills at some point in our lives and therefore rewarding them properly for the vital role that they play is the only way to ensure that they will be there when we need them. If we do not do so, they will leave for other countries and other jobs. To give them what they ask for should be a top priority."

"Our national health service - which I pay for through my taxes - requires qualified staff who are well-paid. 'Junior' doctors have lost thousands over the years through below inflation pay rises. Government should prioritise paying decent wages to all NHS staff because we need them all."

"1. If you are arguing that the pay increase necessary to restore their pay to 2010 levels is "unreasonable," then surely you must accept that their loss in pay since 2010 is also unreasonable? 2. They are highly skilled, very hard working, and provide an invaluable service to the country, and deserve better treatment 3. They are leaving the NHS at an increasing rate. There is already a shortage, they must be provided with an incentive to stay"

"Junior doctors, and most are highly experienced, are the backbone of the NHS. If they move to Australia in large numbers, the NHS will become an empty husk, unable to help anyone. Their pay has been cut over the last 15 years and, due to the amount of unpaid work they do, they are only earning £14 per hour. This is a ridiculous situation. Those who graduated more recently also have £100,000 of student debt to repay. The fact is that we need them to stay in this country and, as you know, there is no alternative. If your government wants to move to an insurance based system, such as the one in the United States, health outcomes would worsen enormously in this country. Your government would not get into power ever again, nor should it."

"The Junior doctors are a key group within the whole of the NHS service which is essential for this country to survive and prosper. They are the future of health care in this country and will become the specialists and consultants etc of the future, put simply without them the NHS does not have a viable future. The political party that fails the junior doctors, fails the NHS and fails the British people!"

If you'd like to share your own message to Steve Barclay, to say why you support the striking junior doctors, just click this link.


Chloe Green

Chloe is a campaigner and strategist at Organise.