Letter: Doctors fight back

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is no wonder that, for the first time in several decades, doctors are considering industrial action (report, 5 June). The issue of pay is only one aspect of a grossly unsatisfactory situation that cannot be allowed to continue.

Most of us did not enter medicine to earn huge salaries. However, the divergence of doctors' incomes with those of our peers in accountancy, law and industry is starker now than at any point, with junior doctors earning roughly 40 per cent of their equivalent salary. It is, none the less, galling to be paid half your normal hourly wage whilst "on call" and working at an intensity similar to or greater than "nine to five" work.

On top of this, the Government has effectively prevented a fair pay assessment by placing extraordinary political pressure on the Doctors and Dentists' Review Body.

Tarred by the brush of a small number of high-profile misdemeanours, doctors now operate in a "name and shame" culture that will ultimately lead to defensive medicine and may destroy medical research altogether.

Doctors are now fighting for our profession. And it isn't simply about pay; this is merely the final straw.

CHRISTOPH LEES, MRCOG

London SW13

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