A comment on the junior doctors’ strike….

It is shocking to think that, in 2013, highly educated and trained individuals are pushed to working excessive, slave-labour hours. Enough is enough and the junior doctors have had no choice but to take a stand and fight for better conditions.

Not only are the excessive hours a threat to patient care, they also impact on the individuals themselves, who are more at risk of burnout from excessive work pressures arising from habitually working overtime. Besides physical health risks, the psychological risks and business risks are also increased, with implications on morale, productivity, performance and talent retention. Who wants to work somewhere they feel unappreciated, overworked and ignored?

The psychological contract has been severely, if not irreparably damaged here and it is going to take strong leadership and a culture of inclusiveness, consultation and fairness to try and rebuild. The current lack of policing and the failure to implement severe sanctions (not just verbal ticking offs) to hospitals not complying with working hours is unsustainable and does not build trust in a health system which is seeking to be more productive and competitive.

What do you think?