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J Med Ethics. 2014 May;40(5):341-2. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2013-101397. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Should doctors strike?

Author information

1
Centre for Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Medical School, , Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Abstract

Last year in June, British doctors went on strike for the first time since 1975. Amidst a global economic downturn and with many health systems struggling with reduced finances, around the world the issue of public health workers going on strike is a very real one. Almost all doctors will agree that we should always follow the law, but often the law is unclear or does not cover a particular case. Here we must appeal to ethical discussion. The General Medical Council, in its key guidance document for practising doctors, Good Medical Practice, claims that 'Good doctors make the care of their patients their first concern'. Is this true? And if so, how is this relevant to the issue of striking? One year on since the events, we carefully reflect and argue whether it was right for doctors to pursue strike action, and call for greater discussion of ethical issues such as the recent strikes, particularly among younger members of the profession.

KEYWORDS:

Public Health Ethics

PMID:
23788560
DOI:
10.1136/medethics-2013-101397
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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