Strikes Disrupt NHS Services in the UK as Junior Doctors Complain of Tough Working Conditions
Cited as one the greatest institutional achievements of post-war Britain, the National Health Service (NHS) became one the glorious symbols of socialized healthcare system- a standard among developed democratic societies of Europe.
The NHS has always been a source of national pride since the Labour Party-led government introduced a state-funded universal healthcare system for its citizens following the end of World War II.
But an increasingly debt-laden NHS has come under great pressure as healthcare staff including junior doctors (those who have served ten years or less or currently training on-the-job) repeatedly complain of tough working conditions in an environment operating on an overstretched budget over the years as stated in a report by Eastern Daily Press.
The picketing of junior NHS personnel is the first of its kind in 40 years involving almost 38, 000 doctors and nurses nationwide. Britain's beloved institution faces a wide range of compounding problems over the years but has since exacerbated during the global financial crisis according to a news coverage by BBC.
After the 24-hour strike, the staff has returned to their posts but threatened that they won't back down until they come into reasonable terms with the government.
The strike erupted when PM David Cameron proposed a controversial policy of increasing mandatory work time to 48 hours per week including additional required weekend duties as mentioned by HNGN.
As a result of the walkout, an estimated 4, 000 patients have had treatment schedules moved to a more feasible date. The strike was originally set for December but was eventually averted in the last minute. Currently, the government is meeting with the leaders of the protesting healthcare staff in attempt to prevent another planned strike on January 26 and February 10 as reported by Daily Mail.
In response to the ever-growing NHS problem, leading British charity groups wrote a letter asking the Cameron-led Tory government to take a decisive long-term solution to prevent the health service falling into disarray.
"Bold long term thinking is required about the size, shape and scope of services we want the NHS and social care to provide - and an honest debate about how much as a society we are prepared to pay for them," the letter said as quoted by Breitbart.