Junior doctors make up half of medics at Wigan's hospitals – as strike takes place across England
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Junior doctors are striking over poor pay and working conditions, with the British Medical Association (BMA) saying they have suffered a 26 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2008-09.
Figures from NHS England show there were the equivalent of 290 full-time junior doctors working at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) as of December – 50.7 per cent of the 573 doctors working at the trust.
Across England there were 66,000 junior doctors working for hospital and community health services, making up 49.9 per cent of all clinicians.
A strike organised by the BMA – which represents around 50,000 junior doctors – is set to last 96 hours, ending on Saturday.
Figures for the number striking by NHS trust were not available.
Any doctor below consultant level is referred to as “junior”, encompassing doctors just starting in the NHS and those who have been training for many years for specialist positions.
They receive a wide range of salaries, with “foundation year one doctors'”– the most junior category – starting on £14.09 an hour, or around £29,000 a year.
WWL had 45 such doctors at this point, alongside 44 second year foundation doctors.
The number of junior doctors has been increasing across England over the past decade as part of a wider uptick in clinicians working for the NHS.
In December 2019, prior to the pandemic, there were the equivalent of 57,000 full-time junior doctors, representing 48.7 per cent of the workforce.
WWL had 250 junior doctors at this point, or 50.7 per cent of all doctors working at the organisation.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the walkouts have “clearly been timed to have an impact on patients”, given increased pressures on the health service after the Easter break.
“We recognise junior doctors have been under significant pressure, particularly from the pandemic, and we want to work with them to find a fair and reasonable settlement,” he added.
Dr Sumi Manirajan, deputy co-chairwoman of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, told Sky News: “I can’t guarantee that no lives will be put at risk but what I can guarantee is that 500 patients are dying (every week) waiting for care at the moment.”