The news that doctors are to take industrial action over their pensions provoked a gleeful reaction in the press today, with most newspapers quoting Department of Health figures on how much ‘greedy doctors’ are due to be paid in their retirement.
The front page of the Express said that ‘greedy doctors’ had ‘sparked fury’ in a strike that would put patients at risk. The Sun’s was similarly unreceptive, calling the 21 June, the first day of industrial action, the ‘shame of £100,000 doctors’ strike’.
It seems the first industrial action taken by doctors in almost 40 years didn’t go down too well with the broadsheets either. The Independent cracked a snide joke: ‘Doctor, doctor: why is my GP going on strike? Because a £53,000-a-year pension deal isn’t enough’.
The Times blasted the fact that thousands of operations will be cancelled, while over at The Telegraph an unnamed commentator, willing only to be recognised as ‘TelegraphView’ said ‘There is something unseemly about the spectacle of members of a profession, a great many of whom enjoy six-figure salaries, working to rule in pursuit of their own vested interests.’
The Mirror stayed relatively neutral with ‘Docs go on strike’ on its front page and the Guardian was sympathetic, blaming the Government for giving little ground to the BMA’s ‘strong complaints’ over their pension reforms.
Surprisingly, the GP’s nemesis, the Daily Mail, decided to ignore the issue altogether on their front page, leading instead with a study which said that cutting drinking levels to just three glasses of wine a week or ‘just a few gulps of beer a day’ could save 4,500 lives a year.
But they more than made up for this oversight on their front page by printing a comment piece that accused the BMA of ‘rank selfishness’ and said the ‘very words “industrial action”, applied to medicine, should set the toes of any self-respecting family doctor curling in shame.’ Ouch.