• Public blames government for industrial action continuing into second month
  • Two-thirds of public still back junior doctors, but opposition has grown since January
  • Over 65s least supportive of junior doctors; 25-34 year olds most supportive

The public blames the government for the junior doctors’ industrial action continuing into a second month, an HSJ survey has found.

A poll carried out for HSJ by Ipsos MORI found 64 per cent of respondents thought “the government is more at fault for the dispute lasting this long” than junior doctors.

Thirteen per cent said “junior doctors are more at fault for the dispute lasting this long”. Eighteen per cent said both sides were “equally at fault”.

Over-65s were most supportive of the government, with 19 per cent of people in this group blaming junior doctors. Half of this age group supported junior doctors – the lowest proportion of the six age groups surveyed.

People aged 25-34 were most supportive of junior doctors, with 72 per blaming the government and only 5 per cent blaming the medics.

The junior doctors’ second 24 hour strike is due to start at 8am on Wednesday. Staff will still provide emergency cover. The government and the British Medical Association were in last ditch discussions on Tuesday to try to avert the strike.

The Ipsos MORI/HSJ poll of 847 people, surveyed last weekend, still shows strong public support for the doctors, with 66 per cent backing them.

This percentage is unchanged from the last poll conducted before the first strike in January. However, the proportion of those opposing the strike has gone up – from 16 per cent in January to 22 per cent this month.

Positions have hardened on both sides since the January poll, with those who “strongly support” the doctors rising from 41 per cent to 49 per cent. The amount who “strongly oppose” the strike has risen from 8 per cent in January to 14 per cent.

Wednesday’s strike was originally due to take place from 8am-5pm and include emergency care, but the BMA rowed back last week.

The poll last month showed the industrial action would receive considerably less public support if emergency care was affected.

Exclusive poll: Public blames government for latest strike