Vol , Issue Date of Publication: May 09, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2024.027

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Steady undermining of the UK National Health Service underlies industrial action by doctors and other staff

John WL Puntis
Erosion of standard of healthcare in the United Kingdom underlies the industrial action taken recently by staff in the publicly provided National Health Service. Underfunding and understaffing, largely as a consequence of neoliberal government “austerity” policies implemented following the 2007-08 banking crisis, together with lack of long-term planning and a drive towards outsourcing, have led to a deterioration in the quality of services. Reduction in bed numbers and neglect of community and social support have compounded problems by making it more difficult both to admit and to discharge patients in a timely fashion. Access to services has been compromised with negative consequences for the sick. Reduction of doctors’ real wages together with stress at work, moral injury caused by feelings of not being able to do the best for patients, burnout from the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainty about the future have led to the longest ever strike action by junior doctors in England.

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©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2024: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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