The overwhelming vote by trainee doctors in favour of industrial action is a stark indication of just how strongly they feel that the government must do more to value and invest in the workforce now and for the long-term.
The NHS is nothing without its people and right now they are signalling that they are facing intolerable pressures, feel undervalued in relation to pay and conditions and do not want to continue as they are.
The RCP fully respects the right of trade union members to go on strike and we hope, as they will, that industrial action can be averted. That can only happen if the government listens and a solution can be reached swiftly.
Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the RCP, commented: “The decision to pursue industrial action is never easy and is likely to weigh particularly heavily on healthcare professionals. We will support our members through the challenges ahead and know they will speak to and support each other to manage them. They will draw on their experience and training, and refer to guidance from their trusts, the General Medical Council and British Medical Association. The RCP will follow the situation closely, ensuring that its own activities and services reflect the needs of patients, members and fellows on strike days.”
While it is not within the RCP’s remit to comment on pay negotiations, we will always speak up on behalf of doctors and our health and social care colleagues. We will also continue to speak up for the need to invest in a sustainable health service.
We must better value and take care of the staff we have so that we retain their invaluable skills and experience and must grow the workforce of the future with more medical school and training places and all that is needed to support them.
You may also be interested in our statement, issued before the ballot closed, from the wider physician community.