Health Secretary Leaves People In Disbelief After Bizarre Description Of Junior Doctors

"I didn’t realise this was real."
Health secretary Victoria Atkins
Health secretary Victoria Atkins
Anadolu via Getty Images

The health secretary has been slammed on social media after calling junior doctors “doctors in training” amid the latest NHS strike.

Victoria Atkins, who secured the top job only last month, told BBC Breakfast that the government has negotiated pay rises with most of the NHS workers who went on strike this year over their salaries.

She added: “The last cohort is that of junior doctors, or doctors in training as I prefer to call them.”

The union leading the strikes, the British Medical Association (BMA), defines junior doctors as “qualified doctors in clinical training”, who have completed a medical degree and foundation training.

They can have up to eight years’ experience working as a doctor in hospital, depending on their speciality, and up to three years in general practice.

According to the Nuffield Trust, there around 75,000 full-time junior doctors in England.

NHS England also says they make up 50% of the medical workforce.

The cabinet minister also noted that, to her “great disappointment”, junior doctors walked out of negotiations with the government and then called the current three-day strike, with another six-day walkout scheduled for January.

Junior doctors are seeking a 35% improvement on their salary, which they say makes up for a real terms pay cut since 2008. The government is offering a hike of between 8% and 10%.

So, just as tensions are already running high between the government and the NHS union, social media claimed Atkins had threw fuel on the fire with her description of junior doctors.


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