Nearly two thirds of the English public support junior doctors’ strike action today, a poll suggests.
In a poll commissioned by BBC Newsnight and carried out by Ipsos MORI, 66% of people said they support the decision by junior doctors to take strike action over a new contract the health secretary has attempted to impose on them.
The strike will not impact the provision of emergency care around England, which would have brought support for strike action down to 44%, according to the poll. However, hospitals are facing major disruption and the NHS has so far postponed 4,000 routine treatments.
The widespread support for the junior doctors, with only 16% of people saying they were against the strike, has put increasing pressure on Jeremy Hunt to find a solution to the disagreement.
Junior doctors and the British Medical Association (BMA) say that the new contract proposed by the government will put patient safety at risk by removing the safeguards that prevent doctors becoming overworked.
A recent study into fatigue and medical errors, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2009, found that increased fatigue could result in medical errors rising by as much as 15%.
Junior doctors began their 24-hour walk-out at 08:00 GMT on Tuesday, and have further strike action planned for 26 January and 10 February.