‘No choice but to strike’, say junior doctors

Junior doctors protest in Central London

Junior doctors have voted to strike in protest over changes to their pay, despite warnings that some patients may die as a result. Is being a doctor a job or something more important?

What’s happening

Junior doctors - doctors who have just finished their training - have voted to go on strike against changes to how they are paid. To ‘strike’ means that you refuse to work, usually for one or two days, in order to put pressure on your employer, in this case the government, to change their policy.

Find out more

A big demonstration was held in central London with hundreds of junior doctors unhappy at how the government is treating them. ‘I’ll be working more hours for less money’, said one. ‘My family will be worse off’, yelled another.

There are several complex reasons for the strike. Perhaps the biggest factor is that doctors will get less pay for working late at night or at weekends. Doctors fear that they will become overworked, and patients may suffer as a result.

But patients will be worse off if thousands of doctors refuse to work for a day. Operations and appointments will have to be postponed. Surely being a doctor involves putting others first and not worrying about how much you are paid?

Some say…

Like serving in the armed forces, teaching or being a priest, being a doctor is not a normal job; it is a vocation - it means you have to be completely selfless. Just as British soldiers swear allegiance to the Queen, doctors take the Hippocratic Oath. Becoming a doctor is a sign that you prioritise doing good over making money.

Others think…

Doctors are not all heroes. Most people go into medicine and become doctors because they are interested in science, not because they are saints who want to save mankind. And of course money is a huge factor for almost everyone, whether you are a doctor, teacher or priest. Doctors have the same fears and motivations as the rest of us.

You Decide

  1. What do you think will motivate you more in your career: money or fulfilment?

Activities

  1. Healthcare in Britain is free. Discuss whether you think this is a good idea.

Some People Say...

“Most people’s aim in life is to make money.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Policy
A course of action.
Demonstration
Display. People gather to show their feelings.
Vocation
When you feel called to choose a career because it is more important than just a job to earn money.
Hippocratic Oath
Traditionally taken by doctors. It originates from Ancient Greece with Hippocrates, known as the ‘Father of Western Medicine’.
Prioritise
Decide to do something before other things in order of importance.
Motivations
Reasons for acting in a particular way.

Subjects

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.