Jeremy Vine show prompts thousands of complaints over junior doctors’ pay debate

Ofcom is considering whether to launch an investigation following the broadcast on March 13.
Ofcom is considering whether to launch an investigation following the broadcast on March 13.

Jeremy Vine’s current affairs show on Channel 5 has prompted more than 2,200 complaints to Ofcom following a broadcast which featured a discussion about the junior doctors’ pay dispute.

The media watchdog said it is currently considering whether to launch an investigation following the programme on March 13, which saw presenter Vine invite broadcaster Lin Mei and associate editor of the Daily Mirror Kevin Maguire to discuss junior doctors in the NHS taking strike action over pay.

When asked whether junior doctors deserve a 35% pay increase, Mei said: “We need doctors and I don’t think the job of being a doctor is as attractive anymore so I do agree they need a pay rise, but 35% is a stretch.

“Essentially like (Vine) said, being a doctor is like being in other fields, a graduate, an apprentice. Now the average for a graduate is £25,000, so they’re still getting more than the average graduate.”

Vine, 57, argued that because of years of university training, junior doctors begin their career “loaded with debt”.

However, Mei said “we need to incentivise them more” paying for the training fees or expenses, but a 35% pay rise isn’t “achievable or doable” and will open the “floodgates”.

Meanwhile, Maguire acknowledged junior doctors had to work “really hard” at university, but described a “huge retention problem” once they start their careers which he said is a “waste of them, it’s a waste of public resources and time and it impacts on our health”.

The broadcast saw dozens of critics flock to social media to point out ‘errors’ made during the debate, and 2,250 complaints made to media regulator Ofcom.

On Wednesday a spokesperson for Ofcom said: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”

A junior doctor is a term given to a medical graduate who has to complete two years of work-based training before they can apply to train in a specialised area of medicine which can take up to eight years, according to the British Medical Association.