Striking hospital doctors at a rally in Newcastle on January 3
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised Britons to reduce waiting lists for the National Health Service. That's why the massive doctors' strike in the NHS is putting him under pressure – and that's one of his problems.
GBritain begins its long election year – the next general election could happen at any time, but the last one must be held within twelve months – with a record: the longest strike in the NHS, which takes place during a busy week for hospitals and polyclinics. The healthcare system explains that several factors usually come together in early January: the flu epidemic, postponed doctor and hospital visits over the previous holidays, and appointments rescheduled for the New Year anyway.
While specialists and nursing staff have been satisfied with a pay hike of more than ten percent in recent months, only the professional group of medical assistants is currently on strike. But their six-day strike was enough to largely cripple inpatient care in England (Scotland and Wales are their own payment areas). The junior doctors are demanding a 35 percent pay rise, arguing that they have suffered real salary losses since 2008 as pay rises have not kept pace with inflation. In addition, the financial situation of many graduates has worsened for other reasons, such that they now have to pay off large amounts of student loans once they have their own income.
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