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Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Junior Doctor activists called out for attempt to hijack MP’s survey  

A survey of South Shropshire residents by their local MP Philip Dunne and prospective parliamentary candidate Stuart Anderson, has been targeted by supporters of strikes by junior doctors.   

South Shropshire MP, Philip Dunne
South Shropshire MP, Philip Dunne

Mr Dunne and Mr Anderson set up the survey as junior doctors went on a three-day strike, to find out what South Shropshire residents feel about this prolonged series of strikes by junior doctors over the Christmas and now New Year period. The survey is to inform both the local MP, and his successor as prospective parliamentary candidate, about the views of local residents in South Shropshire and does not form part of any wider campaign.    

Junior doctors were on strike before Christmas for 3 days, and are now taking strike action, until Tuesday 9th January.  This is deliberately timed to coincide with the busiest time of the year for hard-pressed NHS services, especially in hospitals where most junior doctors work. 

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Within 24 hours of being posted online, the survey was shared among a doctors’ community forum on Reddit, encouraging people to fill in the survey. Viewers on Reddit were provided with two addresses within the Ludlow Constituency, which if used would give the impression of feedback from local residents.

Mr Dunne confirmed today that so far 20% of the survey’s responses had used one of the addresses provided on the Reddit forum, with 54% of all survey responses coming from either the addresses provided on Reddit or addresses outside the Ludlow Constituency.     

Mr Dunne has regularly surveyed constituents since becoming an MP, including before Christmas asking residents’ opinions on proposed changes to the law on the smoking age.    

Mr Dunne said:  “I am disappointed there has been this clumsy attempt by some living outside of the Ludlow Constituency who support strike action to influence the outcome of our survey.   

Both Stuart Anderson and I have a genuine interest in the views of South Shropshire residents on this issue, and had hoped our survey would reveal what local patients think about the way in which the BMA and the government have approached these negotiations.   

The only reason to seek to hijack our survey would be to influence the result. But we will not be deterred from seeking the opinions of South Shropshire residents. Our survey remains open, so I encourage anyone in South Shropshire who has a view on this issue to go to tellphilip.com to let us know your views.”  

Despite junior doctors being offered a further pay uplift of 3%, on top of the average 8.8% pay rise (10.3% for lowest paid doctors) backdated to April, the BMA has decided to reject this, and announce an unprecedented level of strike action. The BMA is calling for a 35% pay rise for junior doctors.    

Stuart Anderson said: “This is the busiest time of the year for our NHS. Local health leaders have warned of the impact on patients and there has already been a large increase in waiting times attributed to strikes across the NHS. It makes a mockery of doctors’ claims they are striking to ‘Save the NHS’. I genuinely want to know what people think of this vital public service being held to ransom in this way. Please let me know what you think by completing my survey at southshropshire.stuartanderson.org.uk.

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