Published by BBC NEWS - 20th December 2023
  • Published
Mohammed Hussain

A junior doctor says he could be forced to quit the profession if an agreement is not found to end a pay dispute.

Dr Mohammed Hussain, who works at Leicester Royal Infirmary, is joining colleagues from across the country in three days of strike action.

Medics are asking for a 35% pay rise, which the British Medical Association (BMA) says makes “perfect sense”.

The government says it is “completely unaffordable” and has urged the BMA to “come back to the negotiating table”.

NHS bosses are warning patients of disruption as junior doctors start a 72-hour walkout on Wednesday.

Dr Hussain, from Derby, told the BBC medics had put in years of studying and training before sacrificing time with their families to work 60-hour weeks.

“It’s frustrating we’ve had to strike in the first place,” he said.

Housing ladder struggle

The 28-year-old says the job is satisfying and helping patients through “rough times” is “definitely worth it”.

“But in terms of me, personally, I’m really struggling,” he said. “Sometimes I wake up and I don’t want to get out of bed because you don’t know how bad it could be.

“In the hospital, it’s hit and miss. It’s long hours and you don’t know what shift you’re heading into.

“You don’t know if somebody’s quit, or if somebody’s sick and you have to deal with the rota gap or if you’re going to be working a shift of two doctors instead of your own.”

Dr Hussain, who lives at home with his parents with his family, said he was struggling to get on the housing ladder as his take home pay was just over £2,000 a month.

“When I started medical school, the quality of life as a doctor would have would been very different,” he said.

“Almost seven years since day one, it’s almost unrecognisable as to how a doctor is living.”

Doctors on strike

Image source, PA Media

He said it was a “daily battle” not to quit the job he describes as “hectic” and return to marketing.

“The corporate life wouldn’t be as morally pleasing and I probably wouldn’t be positively helping people as much, but I would have my own house,” he said.

“With the poor salary and not being competitive in the international market, a lot of my colleagues are leaving and leaving gaps in the rotas – gaps that never get filled.”

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “I want to assure patients that we have taken significant contingency measures to reduce the disruption these strikes will cause.

“But we know that despite these measures and the hard work of NHS staff, these strikes can cause significant disruption to patients and add extra pressure on the NHS.

“We have consistently acted reasonably, and that approach has led to offers being put to members of the consultant and specialist doctor unions.

“My door remains open should the BMA Junior Doctors Committee cancel these disruptive strikes and come back to the negotiating table as we were making good progress.”

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