Doctor takes apart BBC interviewer in strikes pay debate

"Who is this legend? Absolutely devastated the anchor"

An NHS doctor has been praised online for an impressive take down of an argument put by a BBC presenter around privately contracted consultants pay during the BMA doctors’ strikes.

On Politics Lives, the journalist Jo Coburn, presented Dr Anna Warrington with the headline, £3k a shift – how doctor strikes cost NHS fortune, before confronting her with, “people will be aghast that that is what’s being paid out because you’re on strike?”

However, Dr Anna Warrington was not having any of it, ready to hit back with a succinct and informed rebuttal.

Dr Anna Warrington replied: “I’m aghast as well that the NHS has to pay private contractor rates to meet their essential needs, and this isn’t just on strike days, this is on a daily basis.”

But Coburn pressed on: “Isn’t it time to go back to work then, to stop that amount of money being spent?”

To which Dr Warrington, seemingly tired of the strike bashing, laid down the hard facts.

“That’s a lovely idea, wouldn’t it be nice if we went back to work, and suddenly there wasn’t a staffing crisis,” informed Dr Warrington. “There’s a daily, a daily staffing crisis, it’s not just on strike days.”

She went on: “Every single day of the week there are theatres that are not filled with anaesthetists so we can’t operate. We could put out a rate of £3,000 a day to find one, but there aren’t enough of us.

“That £3,000 rate reflects the maximum hourly rate recommended by the BMA for night-time work for a consultant. That’s a highly skilled individual bearing heavy responsibility at short notice in the middle of the night and they are a private contractor.”

Dr Warrington went on to highlight that it is the private contractor who chooses the hourly rate, and that public outrage should be re-directed to those actually responsible for creating the need for this in the first place.

“The outrage is not the hourly rate of a private contractor, the outrage is that the NHS needs to use them to cover essential everyday services,” said Dr Warrington.

“And that is not on the individual to solve, that’s on the government to finance the NHS adequately so this does not arise.”

One X user asked, “Who is this legend? Absolutely devastated the anchor”, as she was praised for her ‘brilliant’ take down of the argument aimed at striking doctors.

Junior doctors and consultants took part in a historic first joint act of strikes on September 20, with a further three joint strike days set for 2, 3 and 4 October.  

(Image credit: Politics Live)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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