Over half of Britons support junior doctors taking strike action

New polling by Ipsos reveals that more than half of Britons (54%) support the strikes by junior doctors, a 3ppt increase since last month.

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs
  • Jordana Moser Associate Research Director
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  • 54% of Britons support strikes by junior doctors, while a quarter (24%) are opposed
  • Support remains higher only for strikes by nurses (60%) and ambulance workers (60%)
  • Half (49%) of Brits think junior doctors are paid too little, again falling third behind nurses (62% say paid too little) and ambulance workers (58% say paid too little)

Ahead of the upcoming four-day strike action by junior doctors, new polling by Ipsos reveals that more than half (54%) support the strikes, a 3ppt increase since last month, compared to a quarter (26%) who oppose them. Nurses (60%) and ambulance workers (60%) remain the most supported professions, while support remains more varied across the other sectors.

 

 

The sectors where support for strike action is highest are also more likely to be perceived to be underpaid, with Nurses (62%), Ambulance workers (58%), and Junior doctors (49%) topping the table of the sectors thought to be paid too little. Less than 10% perceive workers in these sectors to be paid too much. By contrast, the public are more divided about the pay of Civil servants and Railway workers, with 1 in 5 thinking that workers in those sectors are paid too little (Civil servants, 23%; Railway workers, 21%), and an equal share saying they’re paid too much (Civil servants, 20%; Railway workers, 22%).

When asked which figure comes closest to the annual base-salary of a first-year doctor in England, just under a third (31%) of Britons correctly guessed £29,000/pa, with 26% thinking it was higher and the same proportion thinking it was lower (26%). 17% said they didn’t know. As per the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Careers website, the base pay for a first-year doctor is £29,384/pa.

Keiran Pedley, Research Director at Ipsos, said

These findings reflect a consistent pattern over time whereby the public tend to be most likely to support strike action for professions that they hold a more positive view of.

Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,092 adults aged 16-75 in Great Britain. Interviews took place on the online Omnibus 31st March – 1st April 2023. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs
  • Jordana Moser Associate Research Director

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