Dealing with the challenges of taking industrial action

by Adrianna Zembrzycka

A time of strike is period when doctors must support and look out for each other

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 29 March 2023
Adrianna Zembrzyck

Taking industrial action is a major decision, one that none of us took lightly. But our incredible ballot result is a testament to our dedication.

Now we are braced for the fight ahead – there is still so much to do, and the coming weeks and months will be extremely busy and challenging. 


Added pressures

We are all going to need to look after ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing. We may come under more media scrutiny, we may feel extra pressures in our workplaces or find interactions with bosses, colleagues, patients, possibly even friends and family, more difficult.  

As representatives, deputies and involved union members, we are on the front line. And unfortunately, this could mean being the target of negative and unkind comments.

Understandably, this may take a toll on our mental health and so I want to ask everyone to do as much as they can to look after themselves and protect their mental health and wellbeing. 


Support is available

Our risk of becoming burnt out now and throughout the period of IA is greater than ever. Perhaps some of you are already overwhelmed and exhausted – I feel quite mentally tired some days too. If that's the case, don't hesitate to reach out if you need any help – don't struggle alone.  

The BMA offers a range of peer support, counselling and wellbeing services. The services listed on the BMA website are available to everyone, including non-members, so please share them widely. They are not limited to pay dispute matters.  


Looking out for each other

We could have a long dispute ahead of us, and it could get rather bumpy so we really must look after ourselves and others. Please try to remain kind, compassionate, civil and respectful at all times, including towards colleagues who may be raising concerns, having doubts or even not participating in industrial action.

They may be struggling during this period too. Please check in with each other often. We are in this together and I suspect we're going to need each other a lot. Stick together, fight together, win together. 


Adrianna Zembrzycka deputy co-chair for professional issues, UK BMA junior doctors committee