Podcast: Society Examines the Battle Between the UK Government and Junior Doctors

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For months, junior doctors in England have been locked in industrial action over pay and conditions – arguing that the future of the NHS is at stake. Talks with the government stalled, with ministers insisting the 35% being demanded was impossible.

Junior doctors such as Sumi Manirajan say colleagues are leaving the profession – and even the country – because of overwork and underpay. She explains what it is like to cover a busy A&E department on a night shift and why the £15 an hour she says her salary equates to is not enough.

The most recent six-day strike was the longest continuous strike in the history of the NHS, with thousands of patients’ appointments having to be rescheduled, explains the Guardian’s health policy editor, Denis Campbell. To keep the system working, senior doctors were having to cover the shifts of their junior colleagues.

Hospitals declared critical incidents, and, Nosheen Iqbal hears, during the strike a row broke out between the British Medical Association, which represents the doctors, and NHS England, over striking junior doctors being asked to return as emergency cover. Now the doctors are preparing to vote once more on industrial action. How can the situation be resolved and how will the NHS cope with more disruption?

Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

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