As NHS doctors and nurses weigh up strike action over the government’s proposed three per cent pay rise, the Tories find themselves at loggerheads with the medical community once more.
The row is the latest in a series of confrontations between NHS workers and ministers since the Conservatives entered government in 2010 and oversaw a period of swingeing cuts to public services.
The Big Issue looks back on some of the major flashpoints between medics and ministers over the past 10 years.
Strike over pensions: 2012
On June 21, 2012, doctors took part in the profession’s first strike in nearly four decades. The dispute centred on changes to doctors’ pensions, with plans for the retirement age to rise from 65 to 68, with contributions also increased. The previous strike by doctors had been way back in 1975, when Labour’s Harold Wilson was prime minister.
‘Save our A&E’ Lewisham hospital dispute: 2013
In late January 2013, campaigners gathered outside Lewisham Hospital after Jeremy Hunt downgraded its A&E department and replaced its maternity unit with a midwife-led facility. More than 25,000 protesters had days earlier urged the health secretary to reject the proposals.
NHS Pay strike: 2014
Thousands of NHS workers, including nurses, midwives and ambulance staff, took part in the first strike over pay for more than 30 years after ministers refused to award a one per cent increase for all NHS staff. The first strike took place on October 13, 2014. Seven years of a one per cent pay cap on salaries came to an end in 2018.