Our view: Striking out

Our view: Striking out

Photo by Jessica Girvan Shutterstock.com

AT the time of writing, up to 60,000 junior doctors across the UK are striking for four days, delaying everything from routine appointments to vital cancer treatment.

Despite the obvious risks to health, however, one poll found that 74 per cent of the British public supported the strike. This begs the question, just how broken is the NHS that we support lives being put in danger- by the very people who have taken an oath to do no harm- to fix it?

It had always generally been accepted that doctors (particularly at the junior end) are overworked and underpaid. But the heavyweight that the pandemic put on those at the front line coupled with the resulting treatment backlog and a cost of living crisis seem to have equalled a work environment for doctors that we can no longer accept.

Where did it all go so wrong though? Launched an astonishing 75 years ago, the NHS brought universal health care to a population who, until then, may simply have died from a simple infection or injury because they could not afford to be treated.

The envy of the world for many years, the NHS also inspired many other great nations to roll out their own equivalents. We now regard free healthcare as one of the main marks of a civilised country.

Like anything though, a great concept only stays great if it moves with the times. And it’s fair to say that relying on a habitually underpaid, overworked workforce to simply put up and shut up forever is not a long-term strategy.

Equally, with an ever-growing population, how long can we expect the NHS to roll on without massive change before more wheels start to come off?

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