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Is this proof even doctors are growing weary of strikes? British Medical Association’s industrial action war-chest raises just £2.40 for every member


A union fund setup to boost the income of striking doctors has proven a flop after attracting donations worth just £2.40 per member.  

The British Medical Association launched the strike fund with huge fanfare, saying it would help medics win their fight for more pay and supplement their income on days they take industrial action.

But analysis by the Daily Mail reveals its fundraising website has received an average of just four donations per day since going live over a year ago, in September 2022.

The union boasts of having 190,366 members but has received only 6,134 online donations from 2,144 donors.

This suggests fewer than 12 in 1,000 have contributed to help colleagues.

The British Medical Association launched the strike fund with huge fanfare, saying it would help medics win their fight for more pay and supplement their income on days they take industrial action. But analysis by the Daily Mail reveals its fundraising website has received an average of just four donations per day since going live over a year ago, in September 2022

The British Medical Association launched the strike fund with huge fanfare, saying it would help medics win their fight for more pay and supplement their income on days they take industrial action. But analysis by the Daily Mail reveals its fundraising website has received an average of just four donations per day since going live over a year ago, in September 2022

The union boasts of having 190,366 members but has received only 6,134 online donations from 2,144 donors. This suggests fewer than 12 in 1,000 have contributed to help colleagues. Pictured, junior doctors picket outside Manchester Royal Infirmary last week on February 26

The union boasts of having 190,366 members but has received only 6,134 online donations from 2,144 donors. This suggests fewer than 12 in 1,000 have contributed to help colleagues. Pictured, junior doctors picket outside Manchester Royal Infirmary last week on February 26

The revelation will be an embarrassment for union leaders, who regularly use crab emojis in their social media profiles and messages as a sign of 'solidarity and unity'. Pictured, junior doctors attend their picket line at St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster , last week on February 26

The revelation will be an embarrassment for union leaders, who regularly use crab emojis in their social media profiles and messages as a sign of ‘solidarity and unity’. Pictured, junior doctors attend their picket line at St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster , last week on February 26

The true number will be even lower as the fund is open to donations from members of the public, who can commit to recurring payments.

The revelation will be an embarrassment for union leaders, who regularly use crab emojis in their social media profiles and messages as a sign of ‘solidarity and unity’.

One MP, who is also a doctor, last night said it is likely BMA members have failed to dig deep in their pockets because they know their colleagues are typically not ‘hard-up’.

Health bosses have been forced to cancel more than 1.4million appointments and operations as a result of industrial action by the likes of junior doctors, consultants and nurses.

The disruption has hampered efforts to clear waiting lists, left patients in pain for longer and cost the NHS an estimated £3billion.

The BMA admits on its website that it was concerned doctors may grow weary of losing pay on days that they strike and undermine their campaign by returning to work.

It launched the fund in a bid to ‘keep workers on the picket line’ and ‘support doctors to take regular industrial action’.

Donations are distributed to members who are in ‘precarious financial situations’, it adds.

Junior doctors, who are seeking a 35 per cent pay rise, earn a basic salary of up to £63,152 a year and consultants up to £126,281.

However, the online fund has raised just £458,270, which equates to a mere £2.40 per member.

The union was forced to apologise to donors after initially claiming ‘100 per cent of donations’ would go to members but it has since disclosed that the website hosting the fundraiser takes a fee of up to 3.25 per cent.

The smallest donation received so far is 50p and the largest £19,000.

Writing on a BMA blog in March last year, BMA council member Joanna Sutton-Klein wrote: ‘The current BMA strike fund is still in its infancy, and in the future we would love it to be able to support more people.

‘However, we are optimistic that it will grow quickly.’

The optimism proved ill-founded as donations peaked that month, at £85,211, and have since plummeted 70 per cent to £25,924 this January, the last full month analysed.

Professor Philip Banfield, chair of the BMA council, encouraged members to contribute to the fund, saying: ‘This is the first time in our long history that the BMA has created a strike fund.

‘It represents a significant step forward in our ability to support members in taking action in defence of the NHS and the profession.’

Donors are able to publish a message when making their donations.

These reveal the militant nature of the industrial action, with many taking a swipe at the government.

Junior doctors in their first year now have a basic pay of £32,300, while those with three years' experience make £43,900. The most senior earn £63,100

Junior doctors in their first year now have a basic pay of £32,300, while those with three years’ experience make £43,900. The most senior earn £63,100

Ministers have given junior doctors an 8.8 per cent pay rise, on average, for the 2023/24 financial year. However, the uplift was higher for first year medics, who were given a 10.3 per cent boost. Pictured a black cocker spaniel in a BMA hat on the picket line outside St Thomas' Hospital on February 26

Ministers have given junior doctors an 8.8 per cent pay rise, on average, for the 2023/24 financial year. However, the uplift was higher for first year medics, who were given a 10.3 per cent boost. Pictured a black cocker spaniel in a BMA hat on the picket line outside St Thomas’ Hospital on February 26

One wrote ‘stick together crabs’, another said ‘stick together, strike together, win together. Stronger together’, while a third said ‘sock it to them’ and a forth ‘don’t let the b*****ds grind you down!’

Tory MP Dr James Davies told the Mail: ‘The BMA might be happy to inflict seemingly endless strikes, but these figures suggest that doctors are growing weary.

‘The government has already given doctors generous pay rises of up to 10 per cent, so it’s disappointing to see the BMA is pursuing strike action above all else, especially when support for the strikes seems to be dwindling.

‘It’s about time the BMA stops the strikes, gets around the negotiation table, and comes to an agreement that’s fair for doctors, patients and taxpayers.’

Tory MP Caroline Johnson, a doctor and member of the Commons health and social care committee, said: ‘Doctors should not be going on strike as they have patients who need looking after, including children and pregnant women.

‘It’s understandable that they want to earn more money, like most people do, and there are credible reasons why they may deserve more but in my view striking, for doctors, is morally wrong.

‘There will be some exceptions, but most doctors are not generally hard-up, and other doctors know this, which may be why they haven’t rushed to put their hands in their pockets in search of many large donations.

‘Ultimately, the best way for doctors to pay their bills and avoid hardship is to go to work.’

The BMA said donations made through the Raisely website only account for some of the money raised by the strike fund but refused to say how much has been received via other sources.



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