Majority support junior doctors ahead of first full walkout

The majority of the public support the junior doctors' strike starting today, but support for this new round of action is slightly lower than for previous strikes when emergency care was not affected, finds a new Ipsos MORI poll for BBC News.

Majority support junior doctors ahead of first full walkout

  • Ipsos MORI poll for BBC News finds 57% support the doctors’ cause and a quarter oppose 
  • Majority still think the government is most at fault for the ongoing dispute – but a rising number think government and doctors both to blame equally
The majority of the public support the junior doctors’ strike starting today, but support for this new round of action is slightly lower than for previous strikes when emergency care was not affected, finds a new Ipsos MORI poll for BBC News.

The findings also indicate that public support for the all-out strike, where no emergency care is provided, is higher than was suggested when the same question was asked in January. Some 57% support the current walkout, but when asked in January whether they would still support the strikes if emergency care was not provided just 44% said they would. Nearly one in five (18%) strongly oppose the full walkout.

 

The survey of 861 adults in England included a question in which roughly half of respondents were asked whether they would support the strike if emergency care from other staff was available during the strike, and the other half were asked if they would support the strike if emergency care from consultants was available. This finds there is no significant difference in support when consultants were mentioned as providing emergency care.

 

The new figures are published as doctors prepare to strike for a fifth time, and the show that an increasing number see both parties are at fault for the continuing dispute.  The proportion saying the doctors and the government are equally at fault continues to rise; over a third (35%) blame both sides, up from 28% in March and 18% in February .Over half (54%) now say that the government is more at fault for the dispute continuing this long, down from 57% in March (and 64% in February), and the number saying the junior doctors are more at fault has also fallen to 8% from 11% in March (and 13% in February).

 

Commenting on the findings, Anna Quigley, Head of Health Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

"We’re seeing today that support for the junior doctors is still prevalent among much of the public, even when emergency care is withheld. However, support is not as high as when we were polling for the strikes where emergency care was provided, as we suggested might happen in January. However, the erosion of public support has not been as stark as the January polling suggested, and the public still have some patience left for the junior doctors’ cause."

 

Note to editors

  • The polling was conducted in conjunction with BBC News.
  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 861 adults in England, aged 18+. Interviews were conducted over the telephone between 22nd and 24th April. Quotas were set and the data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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