The Doctor – issue 48, October, 2022

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Location: UK
Published: Friday 14 October 2022
the doctor October 2022 HH
Phil Banfield Phil Banfield


Junior doctors in England formally entered a trade dispute this month with the UK Government and took the decision to ballot for industrial action.

Juniors have seen their pay eroded by more than 25% since 2008 and a foundation year 1 makes the equivalent of £15 per hour. As nurses are seeing too, the NHS is losing its trained experts at an alarming and unprecedented rate to retirement, to more attractive terms, conditions, and lifestyles abroad or from medicine altogether. Enough is enough.  

No doctor wants to strike – this step is a very last resort – but with many graduating with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, now is the time to act. We have given the Government ample opportunity to engage but, so far, they have refused to meet our representatives, refused to listen and refused to act. I fully support our junior doctor leaders and our members in other branches of practice taking a collective stand. 

On the following page of this month’s issue of The Doctor you can find out more about the dispute process – including details of the ballot of junior doctors which is likely to be conducted from around 9 January.

We also look at the growing alarm from the medical profession with gambling. As we find out in this in-depth feature, gambling is often a ‘secret addiction’ carrying a large burden of morbidity and mortality. Regulation is deeply inadequate and, as Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the national clinical adviser for gambling harms, says in the piece, immediate work is needed to improve access to treatment. 

We pay tribute to John Marks, BMA council chair from 1984 to 1990, who has sadly passed away at the age of 97. Dr Marks defended the NHS against the Government introduction of the internal market, campaigned to protect the rights granted through the Abortion Act 1967 and led the BMA’s response to the, then, emerging challenge of HIV. 

There are a number of other fascinating features in this issue of the magazine including an important article looking at Islamophobia in medicine and the experiences facing Muslim medical students and doctors across the UK.

We also feature a GP practice which has introduced a ‘John Lewis style’ of ownership and an interview with Juliet Stevenson, who is playing Ruth Wolff in Robert Icke’s play, The Doctor. 

Phil Banfield, BMA council chair

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