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By Leia ReidJan 24
Published February 9th 2016
Anger is building as junior doctors in the UK continue to dispute proposals for changes to their contracts.
The ongoing issue, which sparked widespread strikes on Wednesday, has seen Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt struggle to come to a deal with junior doctors and the British Medical Association over updating the contracts despite lengthy negotiations.
Celebrities like Peter Capaldi, John Hurt and J K Rowling have lent their support to the striking doctors.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 10, 2016
The controversial topic is central to fiery debate on social.
Thousands have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the junior doctors’ contracts and subsequent strikes. #JuniorDoctorsStrikes was mentioned hundreds of times alongside #PMQs on Wednesday despite the issue not being mentioned during Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, which saw the host read desperate letters from the affected doctors to Mr Hunt, added fuel to the fire over the weekend.
Mentions of keywords surrounding the debate spiked significantly on Saturday as junior doctors protested in the streets of London, and peaked even more on Sunday during Jeremy Hunt’s roasting from Andrew Marr.
While Jeremy Hunt got most mentions in tweets surrounding the issue over the weekend, Vanessa Redgrave and Vivienne Westwood’s appearance at Saturday’s “masked march” also gained a lot of attention.
Over the weekend we found nearly 4,000 tweets on the issue from healthcare practitioners alone, and identified Twitter’s most influential junior doctors using Audiences to find out what they had to say on the current situation.
On Saturday the media were criticized for not covering the #SaveOurNHS protest.
— Gagan B (@ClinOncDoc) February 6, 2016
Many of the doctors took to Twitter to vent their frustrations over Hunt’s performance on The Andrew Marr Show after he claimed that medics were being misled by the BMA over the new contract proposals.
#Imnotmisled and #misledmedic spread as the junior doctors made their voices heard.
— Dr Paul Teed (@DrPaulTeed) February 7, 2016
Meanwhile, others mocked Jeremy Hunt’s remark that his door was always open to doctors’ leaders seeking a solution by sharing tweets like this:
— Dearbhail Lewis (@Lewis_Derv) February 7, 2016
Sarah Marsden (@IntrepidSarah) wasn’t alone in tearing apart Hunt’s comments on a seven day NHS.
— Sarah Marsden (@IntrepidSarah) February 8, 2016
We found thousands of mentions on Twitter supporting, condemning or simply reporting on Wednesday’s upcoming strikes, with over 12,000 on strike day alone.
Despite concern around the effects of the latest strike, healthcare professionals make up the largest segment of the share of voice of those tweeting about. No kind of mass reaction has overshadowed their share of voice.
Politicians make up the second largest segment, just ahead of scientists and researchers on mention count.
On strike day we took a look at the top 200 influential junior doctors on Twitter and what they had to say.
We’ll continue to update our data as it comes in.