Hospital Dr News

Majority of the public support junior doctor strike despite full walkout

As the he first all-out doctors’ strike in the NHS’s history begins, research suggests that the majority of the public still support the junior doctor strike action.

A new Ipsos MORI poll shows that 57% of adults in England support the strike.

Thousands of junior doctors withdrew their labour from both routine and emergency care at 8am in protest at the imposition of a new contract from the summer.

Support for this round of action is slightly lower than for previous strikes when emergency care was not affected.

The findings also indicate that public support for the all-out strike, where no emergency care is being provided, is higher than was suggested when the same question was asked in January.

While 57% support the current walkout, when asked in January whether they would still support the strikes if emergency care was not provided, just 44% said they would. Nearly one in five (18%) strongly oppose the full walkout.

The survey of 861 adults in England included a question in which roughly half of respondents were asked whether they would support the strike if emergency care from other staff was available during the strike, and the other half were asked if they would support the strike if emergency care from consultants was available.

This finds there is no significant difference in support when consultants were mentioned as providing emergency care.

Junior doctor strike

The new figures are published as doctors strike for a fifth time, and show that an increasing number see both parties are at fault for the continuing junior doctor strike dispute.

The proportion saying the doctors and the government are equally at fault continues to rise; over a third (35%) blame both sides, up from 28% in March and 18% in February.

Over half (54%) now say that the government is more at fault for the dispute continuing this long, down from 57% in March (and 64% in February), and the number saying the junior doctors are more at fault has also fallen to 8% from 11% in March (and 13% in February).

Commenting on the findings, Anna Quigley, Head of Health Research at Ipsos MORI, said: “We’re seeing today that support for the junior doctors is still prevalent among much of the public, even when emergency care is withheld.

“However, support is not as high as when we were polling for the strikes where emergency care was provided, as we suggested might happen in January. However, the erosion of public support has not been as stark as the January polling suggested, and the public still have some patience left for the junior doctors’ cause.”

Read the tables on junior doctor strike action.

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