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uk junior doctors
Junior doctors in UK strike action for better conditions

The healthcare system in the UK continues to lurch from one crisis to the next.

Junior doctors took the extraordinary step of strike action for five days from Thursday, 13 July to Tuesday, 18 July.

It was the longest walkout in NHS history.

Around 48,000 members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) were involved.

They were pushed to extreme measures after years of seeing their wages eroded by rising inflation.

Why they are striking?

The young doctors want a 35% rise which would restore their pay to 2008 levels.

The British government has countered with a 6% offer and a one-off payment of £1250 – the equivalent of a rise of between 8.1% and 10.3% depending on their initial wage.

Unsurprisingly, with inflation currently running at 8.7%, the offer has not been taken seriously.

The BMA claims junior doctors are paid only £14.09 per hour, less than the £14.10 per hour that sandwich chain Pret a Manger is paying its baristas, prompting the claim that you can “make more serving coffee than serving patients”.

What is everyone saying?

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has insisted there will be no further negotiation, triggering the strike action.

“We will not negotiate again on this year’s settlements and no amount of strikes will change our decision,” Sunak said.

His position was labelled “irresponsible and unreasonable” by Dr Sumi Manirajan, deputy co-chair of the BMA’s junior doctors committee.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay further inflamed relations by declaring the strike action “collapsed” the negotiations that had already taken place, refusing to return to the table during the action.

While a Downing St spokesman added that a 35% rise is “simply not fair to taxpayers”.

But chair of the BMA’s UK council, Professor Phil Banfield said, “the political choices this government is making continue to make ordinary people sicker and poorer.

“That is an unconscionable position for a ‘civilised’ society to be in”.

Healthcare in the UK

Better pay is foremost in the minds of young doctors who have elected to strike.

But it is just part of the problem they face working in healthcare in the UK.

Patient waiting lists have blown out to record numbers in the aftermath of the pandemic, ballooning beyond 7,000,000 procedures.

Doctors of all ages are facing long days and working weeks with few or no breaks.

Many also have to contend with sub-standard conditions including confined working spaces, insufficient available computers and broken furniture while some have even reported having to pay for their own scrubs.

It leaves many feeling disenchanted and unappreciated, some at the very beginning of their medical careers.

Where to from here?

Further strike action are almost guaranteed in the short term unless a compromise is reached.

This comes after 96.5% of HCSA members voted to extend industrial action for a further six months through to January, 2024.

Clearly the two sides remain poles apart.

The NHS is already battling a shortfall of 12,000 hospital doctors and 50,000 nurses.

That number is likely to increase unless a resolution is somehow procured.

Doctors young and old are expected to consider leaving home, seeking better conditions abroad, with Australia continuing to benefit from the UK battlefield.

Australia has a GP shortage of its own and has not hidden its ambition to recruit disenchanted British doctors to help fill the void.

UK doctors moving to Australia

Given the challenges, it isn’t surprising that many junior and senior doctors from the UK are exploring opportunities to move their lives and careers to Australia.

If you’re a UK GP exploring a move down under, of the first things you’ll notice is the space – there’s so much of it.

That makes it a great place to work and an even better place to live. 

If you want a house with a big back yard or even a hobby farm with your own chickens, goats or horses, you can have it in Australia.

That also makes it a great place to raise a young family.

You’ll love the climate, wherever you live down under.

The pay will be the clincher. Junior doctors earn between $70-95,000 in Australia, depending on the state.

The average GP in Australia earns around $350,000 – more than double that of their UK counterpart.

That’s because they are normally paid a share of their practice’s income.

They do it seeing fewer patients with appointment times in Australia on average six minutes longer than in the UK.

And doctors in Australia work fewer hours, only 35-38 per week, compared to 50 hours per week in the UK.

Contact Health Recruitment Australia today

If you are a doctor interested in starting a new life in Australia, now is the perfect time to make that initial enquiry.

Health Recruitment Australia is a recruitment agency focussed specifically on matching overseas doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

There is currently a significant shortage of GPs in Australia, with multiple opportunities for doctors interested in making the move.

The financial rewards and quality of life in Australia significantly outweigh what doctors have had to settle for in the UK, Ireland and throughout Asia.

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!