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Sunday, 3 June 2012

21 June is Visit your Doctor Day

Doctors have voted to go on strike on June 21. Their union, the British Medical Association, which is just a fancy name for a trade union, insists that the “industrial action” (their term, I'd called non-industrial inaction, but there you go) won’t harm anyone, so no doctor will break the Hippocratic Oath, which includes the clause “do no harm”.

The trouble is that doctors of course do a lot of harm to the economy, so be sure to make an urgent appointment with your GP to tell them that their high pay is an unnecdessary burden on the state.  One of the post war socialists in government, I can't remember which, could have been a Bevin or a Bevan, warned that nationalising doctors could lead to doctors holding the government to ransom.

Doctors do a very valuable job; a job that requires a lot of training, paid for mostly by us, the tax payers.  After that training they earn an average salary of over £100,000 a year, a pension after 40 years service worth over £50,000 index-linked and a £150,000 lump sum on retirement.  Sounds pretty good to me, particularly considering the pension contributions of 8% over 40 years amount to 3 years salary, in return for which they will get a lump sum of 18 months salary and an expectation of 20 to 25 years pension. And becaus ethey might lose some of that they want to go on strike.

It is worth noting that half of the 1% of the most highly paid public sector workers work in the Health Service.  Healthcare takes a disproportionate share of the national income and the reason is that like many public services, and unlike the private sector, it doesn't respond to market conditions.

Wagers iun the private sector have been driven down by competition from Asia.  If you don't believe me, look at the wages in semiconductor fabrication.  nott so long ago, we actually had some of those plants in the UK.  Nowadays, they are all in the Far East. I rest my case.

but the doctors still think they should be paid as though they are servicing the healthcare needs of a vibrant workforce, when realistically it is more to do with hip operations of an ageing population.  Sureenough they deserve care, but economically it ain't worth paying a lot for it, and by rights doctors should be earning a lot less when the government is running a deficit.

The docors may not like it, but part of the problem is that the costs of caring for the elderly have to be spread more thinly because we are all living longer, and the only people to blame for that are the doctors.

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