BETTER wages overseas in places like Australia for junior doctors is among the many reasons medics took to the picket lines in Reading today (April 11).

Junior doctors in  Reading have joined a four-day walk-out to demand a 35 per cent pay increase amid years of inflation eating into their wages and the temptation to move overseas for better pay.

One doctor outside the Royal Berkshire Hospital today said the industrial action hopes to bring about safer staffing in the NHS for the future.

Picketing Dr John Cruise, 29, said: “We are trying to ensure that we have safe staffing for the NHS in the future going forward.

“I think you need to value your staff, and in the society we are living in, Western Civilization, it all comes down to pay restoration.

“I don’t think junior doctors are worth less than they were in 2008.

“I think they are doing the same job in much more challenging circumstances, year on year. The data shows that patients are getting older, the issues are more complex, they’re becoming more sick and they are going to need doctors help.

“I don’t think our workload has changed, I think we deserve the same sort of pay we had in 2008.”

Dr Cruise works in the anaesthetic department and has been a doctor since 2016 after graduating from the University of Birmingham.

He has worked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for two years.

the medic joined more than a dozen junior doctors took part in the protest outside the Royal Berkshire Hospital entrances in Craven Road and London Road in Reading on April 11.

The strikes have been organised the British Medical Association for four days until Friday, April 14.

Doctor Tom Corkery-Bennett, 26, who works in the emergency department, said: “It absolutely does sound like a lot, I appreciate that, but how would you feel if your pay had been docked by 26 per cent in the first place in real terms?

“Nobody wants to see their pay cut at all, so we’re only asking for what we’ve previously had.

“It’s not really a pay rise, it’s pay restoration.”

BMA has argued income has declined in real terms due to inflation since 2008.

Dr Corkery-Bennett said: “Our pay has not matched inflation in the way it’s risen.

“What that means is our ability to purchase, our purchasing power has gone down.

“We’ve had this real terms pay cut, and at the same time our workload is only getting busier, we’re seeing more and more junior doctors leave the country to go and work elsewhere in places like Australia for better pay, therefore if we want to be able to support an NHS with junior doctors and keep them around, we’re going to have to see this pay increase.”

Dr Corkery-Bennett graduated from the University of Exeter and is in his second year as a doctor.

He added that the emergency department is being staffed by non junior doctors and consultants while the four-day strike takes place.


The government has called for junior doctors to revise their request of a 35 per cent pay rise and call off the strikes.

In a statement to The Guardian, a spokesperson on behalf of Prime Minister RIshi Sunak said: “It continues to be the case that we call on the BMA junior doctors to cease their strikes and revise their starting point for negotiations, which is 35 per cent, which we continue to believe is unreasonable and is not affordable for the British taxpayer.”