Doctors in the UK were encouraged by a union representative to not inform their NHS bosses when they go on strike in hopes that they will still get paid.
Dr Arjan Singh, chairman of the BMA’s North Thames junior doctors committee, said that doctors can go on strike without informing their hospital.
He believes that the chaos that the industrial action has created within the payroll departments could prevent doctors from seeing their salaries docked. Singh made these comments during a Twitter meeting in January, although the BMA has insisted that it was not their policy.
Critics have responded to Singh’s comments, saying that it would mean wasted patient appointments and that it is taking money from hard-pressed health trusts.
Conservative MP Paul Bristow, who is a member of the Health Select Committee, called the advice unethical and potentially harmful to patients. He also questioned whether the junior doctors’ pay demands were worth risking lives for.
The comments from Dr Singh come as thousands of junior medics have staged a third strike day in support of the British Medical Association’s demands for ‘full pay restoration’, which would amount to a 35 per cent rise.
The Department of Health and Social Care has urged the BMA to come to the negotiating table and cancel the strikes, which risk patient safety and affect efforts to tackle the backlog.
According to national NHS guidance, employees are not entitled to be paid when they are on strike, and the government expects individual NHS trusts to follow this policy.