2020health in the media

2020health quoted in The Sun “Shame of £100k doc strike vote – Go-slow in protest over pensions” by Kevin Schofield.

Please see below for the full article.

By Kevin Schofield, Chief Political Correspondent, The Sun, 31st May 2012

Shame of £100k doc strike vote

Go-slow in protest over pensions

DOCTORS voted to strike over changes to their pensions — despite earning on average £105,000 a year.

They will hold a go-slow on June 21 — when all non-emergency operations and GP appointments will be cancelled.

Medics are angry at having to pay more into pension pots — and work longer before they can collect it.

But even after the proposed changes, doctors can expect a pension of £68,000 a year.

The average pension pot for a consultant is worth £2million.

The controversial strike will be the first walkout by the medical profession since 1975.

Half of the British Medical Association’s 104,500 members took part in the ballot — and 80 per cent voted in favour of the 24-hour protest.

Doctors will still go to work but they will carry out emergency and urgent cases only.

On an average day, there are around 25,000 non-urgent medical procedures carried out in England.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said they were taking strike action “very reluctantly” and still wanted a deal with ministers.

He said: “This clear mandate for action reflects just how let-down doctors feel by the Government’s unwillingness to find a fairer approach to the pension changes.”

Dr Meldrum denied patients would suffer, saying: “Non-urgent work will be postponed and, although this will be disruptive, doctors will ensure patient safety is protected.”

But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley refused to cave in, saying the deal on offer is not negotiable Mr Lansley: “The public will not understand or sympathise with the BMA. People know pension reform is needed.

“The NHS pension scheme is — and will remain — one of the best available anywhere.”

Tory MP Dr Dan Poulter — who is also a part-time NHS hospital doctor — is refusing to strike.

He said: “Doctors have taken the wrong decision, urged on by their trade union the BMA. Industrial action will harm patient care.

“The public will not understand why doctors have called for strike action over pensions that private sector workers can only dream of.”

Labour asked the BMA to think again. Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “I would urge doctors to pull back from any form of action that damages patient care.”


By TOM DOLPHIN, Junior Doctor

LIKE most young doctors, I wasn’t born the last time doctors took industrial action.

It’s a huge deal for us to reach this point. Patient safety is our first priority.

Doctors will be in hospitals and surgeries as usual on the day of action. Our pension scheme isn’t a drain on taxpayers — it delivers £2billion more to the Treasury each year than is paid out.

We’re not asking for special treatment — just fair treatment.


By JULIA MANNING, Chief Executive of 2020Health

THIS is a massive own goal for doctors that tarnishes them all with a “greedy” brush.

This vote says they are more concerned with pensions than patients and is morally unjustifiable.

The NHS pension pot will need billions more of taxpayers’ money if we do nothing now.

Striking will achieve nothing because there is no more money.

Doctors have to accept changes and accept higher contributions and lower pensions.

You will be safe


I DIDN’T like the idea of a strike at first, but the result of the BMA ballot is decisive.

More important, I am convinced industrial action needn’t put patients at risk.

Only routine work will be shelved on the day of action, exactly the same as on a bank holiday. Emergencies will get attention, and routine matters will have to wait. Telling the difference between the two is exactly what doctors do every day. This will mean inconvenience for some, but I trust my fellow medics not to put peoples’ health in jeopardy.

If doctors pledged never to take industrial action, it would give governments the green light to trample all over the profession. That’s exactly what this Government is trying to do.

Its plan could put patients at risk. It would force doctors to work longer for the same benefit. Patients won’t want to be treated by tired, elderly doctors still working because they have to.


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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