3 galling government projects that cost more than restoring junior doctors pay

3 galling government projects that cost more than restoring junior doctors pay
Junior doctors 'don't inherently want to go on strike', says BMA committee …

Junior doctors are on a four-day strike in a bid to secure pay rises.

Up to 47,000 junior doctors will strike from 6.59am on Tuesday 11 April to 6.59am on Saturday 15 April - a total of 96 hours with hopes to get a 35 per cent increase to their pay packet.

35 per cent sounds steep but when you factor in inflation it's not that unreasonable.

Indeed, the British Medical Association (BMA) have said the salary junior doctors has fallen 26 per cent in the last 15 years.

They estimate the cost of restoring that pay will be £1bn.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

And when you look at things far more expensive the government has fluttered away taxpayer money on, it makes it all the more easy to side with medics.

Below, that is exactly what we do.

1. Test and Trace

Remember Covid? A pretty grim pandemic that, ahem, junior doctors helped deal with?

You probably do so you probably remember the government spending a lot on schemes including an NHS app to measure who had Covid so they wouldn't cough it on to their gran.

According to the NAO, as of June 2022 approximately £25.7 billion had been spent on the entire Test and Trace programme, with an estimated lifetime cost of £29.3 billion.

But it wasn't exactly good. “Track and trace failed to halt the waves of infection,” said Jim Naismith, professor of structural biology, at the University of Oxford in October 2021. “This was clear in real time last year. Too small a proportion of contacts were identified and instructed to isolate in a timely manner. The Royal Society had quite early on shown that success depended on isolating a very high proportion of the contacts of infectious people within a very short time window.”

2. PPE


If you remember Test and Trace you'll no doubt remember PPE. At the start of the pandemic doctors said there wasn't enough and they were forced to expose themselves to coronavirus before the vaccine had been made.

But then things went from the sublime to the ridiculous in June 2022 and the government found that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had £4bn of PPE in storage which could not be used by frontline workers because it was substandard.

3. Rwanda scheme

The UK has so far paid the Rwandan government £140m for a controversial scheme which will see migrants arriving in the UK illegally removed to the country.

While this is less than the £1bn doctors are asking for, doctors actually function - saving lives on the daily and doing their jobs. The Rwanda plan, conversely, has been an exercise in flushing money down the toilet given it has thus far been blocked by courts.

But apparently the government can't afford to pay junior doctors...

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)