In a recent announcement, the British Medical Association (BMA) said that doctors will take industrial action on June 21 in the bitter row over the Government’s controversial pension reforms. Such an action hasn’t happened in almost forty years.  Anytime medical personnel be it doctors, nurses or allied health workers embarks on this type of action debates always ensues. For some, the issue is emotive. For others it hinges on ethics. Should professionals who are given the responsibility of caring for the sick and dying consider strike action for any reason? This is an agonizing question among this group of professionals. It is always an ordeal reaching a consensus as to whether such an action should be take or not. There are those who will not under any circumstance, financial or otherwise support such an action. They strongly believe that doctors have a duty of care to their patients and such an action is against the oath they took when they qualified. There are those who also strongly believe that such an action could be taken as long as nothing is done to jeopardize the care of their patients. According to the BMA, doctors will provide urgent and emergency care but will postpone non-urgent cases. Who determines what is urgent and non-urgent when a strike is meant to be on? How do you determine who is actively on strike and who is partially on strike? Is it really possible for doctors and nurses to really go on strike? If some work would be undertaken then the effectiveness of the strike is in question. The crux of this matter is that by 2014, some doctors will see deductions of 14.5 per cent from their pay for their pensions, compared with 7.35 per cent for senior civil servants on similar salaries, receiving similar pensions. I quite support doctors standing up for their entitlement and hope that they have thoroughly assess their strategy such that they will get result. I would also want to believe that there might be another way of achieving the same objective without resulting to this type of action. This is food for thought for medical associations across the region. While these actions are seldom taken, there are times when they are deemed necessary and careful thought need to be given to its execution. A cursory of the British media would show that there is definitely no support or sympathy for the doctors in this instance. If faced with the same situation as a medical practitioner, what would you do – to strike or not to strike?

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