23 January 2024
MP’s survey reveals South Shropshire public do not support Junior Doctor strikes

A survey of South Shropshire residents conducted by local MP Philip Dunne has shown the public have little sympathy with the junior doctor’s strikes.

In the wake of strikes before Christmas, Mr Dunne launched a survey to get a sense of how South Shropshire residents felt about the Junior Doctor members of British Medical Association and government’s approach to negotiations. Within hours of being posted online, over 150 activists supporting the Junior Doctors’ strikes but living outside South Shropshire, sought to flood the survey with responses, using two fake addresses within the constituency to pose as local residents.

Despite these efforts, South Shropshire residents were 62% against the strikes, with only 35% in support of the BMA’s position. When asked about the negotiated offer being put to the BMA, 51% of respondents said that they supported the current offer to Junior Doctors; 28% supported an improved NHS offer; and only 18% supported the Junior Doctors asks. Only 27% of respondents agreed with the BMA language the strikes are an attempt to ‘save the NHS’, with 65% disagreeing.

Latest figures from UCAS earlier this month reveal there are currently 3.7 applicants for every one space to train to become a doctor at medical schools in the UK. 

In September, junior doctors have received a pay rise worth 8.8 per cent on average. Average basic pay for a first year junior doctor has increased from £29,300 to £32,300, while junior doctors in core training with three years’ experience have seen their salaries increase by £3,700 a year, from £40,200 to £43,900. The government has offered junior doctors a further pay uplift and changes to their contract, but the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee has decided to reject this, and began the process for a further unprecedented level of strike action to seek a 35% uplift in pay.

During January’s strikes 528 inpatient and outpatient appointments at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust had to be rescheduled due to strike action at the county’s acute hospitals. Across the country, 110,000 patients had their operations cancelled due to the BMA’s industrial action.

Mr Dunne said:

“I launched the survey to get a real sense of how patients in South Shropshire feel about the Junior Doctor strikes. Notwithstanding attempts by activists to skew the results, it is crystal clear a large majority of South Shropshire residents who replied to my survey do not support this industrial action.

“Only around half of those who support strike action also supported the 35% uplift in pay the BMA is seeking, which shows the public recognise these demands are simply not credible.

“Over 500 operations in Shropshire were cancelled in January due to this industrial action, having a profound effect on public health, damaging those patients who they have committed to care for. I urge the BMA to accept a fair deal and end this needless and disruptive action.”