Doctors and Nurses May Be Forced to Work During Strikes Under New Government Plans


Doctors and nurses could be compelled to work during strikes as the government sets out new measures to ensure minimum service levels are maintained. The move comes as junior doctors and consultants coordinate walkouts, resulting in the cancellation of thousands of appointments and operations.

Guaranteeing a "Safety Net" for Patients

The government plans to introduce legal powers to cover emergency and urgent care services, creating a "safety net" for patients who require treatment during times of industrial action.

Following the Example of Other Sectors

Several sectors in the UK economy, including fire and rescue services, education, transport, and border security, already have existing strike laws that provide a minimum service. The government aims to extend these provisions to the healthcare sector.

Prioritizing Patient Safety

Speaking about the need for these measures, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said, "This week’s action will create disruption and misery for patients and NHS colleagues. These regulations would assure the public that vital health services will be there when they need them."

Addressing the Demands of Doctors

Barclay also highlighted the recent pay increases for doctors, stating, "Doctors who started their hospital training this year are receiving a 10.3% pay increase, with the average junior doctor getting 8.8% and consultants are receiving a 6% pay rise alongside generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask."

Protecting Patient Safety

The government is committed to taking further steps to safeguard patient safety and ensure that the health service has an adequate number of staff to operate effectively. These new measures aim to strike a balance between the rights of healthcare workers to strike and the need to provide essential services.

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