As a Dental Core Trainee in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, it has been heartening to have the BDA stand by us and call for the government to issue complete pay restoration for junior doctors and dentists in conjunction with our medical colleagues and the BMA.
With the government attempting to run a health service on the cheap by slashing budgets and cutting corners, creating desperate working conditions in our hospitals and leaving gaping vacuums of vacancies, as a criminally overworked and hideously underpaid workforce, junior doctors and dentists are simply asking to be valued appropriately and paid accordingly, and not 20-30% less than 15 years ago after inflation.
"Junior doctors and dentists are simply asking to be valued appropriately and paid accordingly."
As healthcare workers, we are reeling from the trauma of the pandemic years; from the exhaustion of constantly going above and beyond in understaffed departments in under-resourced hospitals; most of us are saddled with tens of thousands of pounds in tuition fee debts
following several gruelling years of education - and yet, at the end of each month of 46-hour weeks, there is simply not enough pay to cover expenses, support dependents, and have any sort of life worth living. My fellow trainees and I are on the picket lines because we don't want to be priced out of the hospital training pathway.
Pitting patients against healthcare workers
"The government can't continue to risk lives and our health service by insisting on running it on the cheap."
It must be gut-wrenching to have your appointment cancelled, or your operation delayed because of these strikes. Healthcare workers have families and loved ones that depend on our wonderful NHS too. But it this government that is pitting patients against doctors and heartlessly refusing to rise to our fair demands, as if unable or unwilling to recognise the urgent need to retain our hospital workforce, which through exasperation and emigration is fast dwindling away, with more than 500,000 vacancies anticipated by the next decade - ominous for hospital dentistry as well as the NHS as a whole.
Investment is key
The government can't continue to risk lives and our health service by insisting on running it on the cheap. Investing in retaining doctors and dentists (and nurses and all healthcare workers for that matter) by paying them properly is an important step in preserving our NHS for our patients, the very patients we chose our respective professions to care for and treat in the first place.