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Doctors in England embarks on historic four-day strike over pay

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Doctors in England embarks on historic four-day strike over pay

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Doctors working in England’s public health service have started a four-day strike over pay and working conditions.

The so-called junior doctors, who are not senior specialists but have years of experience, are demanding a 35% pay rise, which they say is necessary to make up for more than a decade of salary cuts in real terms.

They also argue that pandemic backlogs, coupled with staff shortages, are increasing workloads and endangering patients.

“We have had a massive (pay) cut and we are filling more gaps because people are leaving,” a junior doctor Katrina Forsyth said, adding that she sometimes wept after shifts.

“It’s becoming less safe for patients,” she said from a picket line after finishing a night shift at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

The strike follows months of strikes by other public and private sector staff due to the UK’s worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

The strike is expected to lead to the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of appointments and could be the most serious walkout yet. The strike affects the NHS in England but not in the UK’s other regions.

The NHS Confederation, which represents the system in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, has said that up to a quarter of a million appointments could be postponed.