Lincoln divided over first doctors’ strike in 40 years

Passionate readers of The Lincolnite have been taking to social media to give their views on the junior doctors’ strike being held in Lincoln and across the rest of the country.

As previously reported, junior doctors have gone on strike for the first time in over 40 years, and picketers have been stationed outside the entrance to Lincoln County Hospital since 8am on Tuesday, December 12.

Junior doctors, such as Chris Busby, who works in Lincoln, said that they did not want to strike but felt that new contracts being imposed on them by the government were unsafe.

Chris Busby (left) with retired nurse Giles Wynne. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Chris Busby (left) with retired nurse Giles Wynne. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The strike has generated heated discussion, with a significant number of those commenting in favour of the junior doctors’ actions, although not necessarily for the same reasons.

One of their supporters, Imogen Lemon, said: “I support these junior doctors. They have been pushed to this position by unreasonable conditions of work being forced upon them, conditions which, in the long run would endanger the lives of patients.”

Peter Jarvis put the blame for the strikes firmly at the door of the government. He said:

“Hardly surprising they’re striking, really, given that the 11% increase in basic pay is dwarfed by a 26% cut in unsociable working hours pay.

“Given the shortage of doctors created since the Conservatives took effective control of the NHS in 2010, how on earth is that shortage ever going to be addressed if salaries are to be reduced? I don’t see any reductions in ministerial salaries!”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

John Radford’s sympathy was fully with the doctors in the dispute.

He said: “Too many people will bemoan strike action as an ‘inconvenience’ to their lives and call the doctors greedy or self-motivated.

“We should understand the hours that they already work are dangerous enough, without further pressure to work longer. This sort of change to contracts is what drives our medical practitioners abroad or simply out of the profession altogether.”

Robin Wilson, who also supported the strike, had a different view, adding: “Don’t blame them one bit! Cuts in NHS, the police and emergency services while we waste millions on overseas aid.”

An angry motorist makes clear his feelings on the junior doctors' strike of January 12. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

An angry motorist makes clear his feelings on the junior doctors’ strike of January 12. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

While many readers supported the strike, others were less sympathetic.

Stephen Minister, who pulled up by the picket line to tell the doctors he was disgusted with them, pulled no punches.

He said: “By striking they are playing God with people’s lives. Many people have waited months for appointments, only to have them cancelled because of strike action.

“Let’s hope these despicable people don’t get paid for their time off striking. And with all due respect; nobody made these people become doctors.

“For the rest of us at the working coalface, if the job we are doing doesn’t pay enough, we move on and get another job.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Glenda Wright, who expressed a similar view, said: “No sympathy. They are not junior doctors forever, it is a stepping stone. If they want a Monday to Friday job, nine to five, get out of the NHS.”

Graeme Richard Ryan added: “Imagine a person goes to college to study bricklaying. They pass the course. They get their first job. First day at work they decide they don’t like working outdoors.”

Pauline Fuller argued that the strike was politically motivated.

She said: “If we had a Labour government I don’t think they would be on strike. If someone close to you were to suffer unnecessarily because of the strike would people feel the same?

“Our service personnel work longer periods for a lot less money and put their lives on the line and they cannot strike.”

Some readers, like Rick Bicker, were undecided.

He said: “I’m still waiting for proof of what the BMA is claiming before I make a judgement. They have claimed all these things yet haven’t provided proof. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to believe things even without proof.”


Read the thoughts of the junior doctors on their walkout here.