Question John Health

Should junior doctors be allowed to strike?

Should junior doctors be allowed to strike?

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Answer Internal Staff

The question of whether junior doctors should be allowed to strike is a difficult one to answer as there are numerous arguments to take into consideration. The answer ultimately depends on how persuasive you find the competing arguments for or against allowing junior doctors to strike. Below are some example arguments for and against junior doctors being allowed to strike.

One argument that supports junior doctors striking is that it is their human right to strike. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights sets this provision out. As it is their human right, they should be allowed to strike. Another argument that supports the junior doctors’ strike is that the new contracts that are to be imposed on them will mean that they will be working longer hours. As hospitals could ask doctors to work more hours than normal it could potentially lead to over-worked and tired staff which would negatively impact on patient safety. A tired doctor is going to provide a lower quality of care compared to a well-rested doctor.

However, an argument against the strike being allowed is that it will have a negative impact on patient safety. The Chairman of the GMC has stated that patients are likely to suffer if the planned strike goes ahead as they will not receive the same level of care as when hospitals are fully staffed. Another argument against the strike being allowed is that by striking, junior doctors are going against their duty of care. A doctors’ duty of care should be towards their patients; patients should always be a doctors’ first concern. By striking, it can be argued that doctors are not placing patients as their primary concern and are instead placing themselves as their primary concern.