The Junior Doctors are due to strike for a total of 20 days between now and the end of the year. It’s been described as unprecedented.
Jeremy Hunt is unmoved by the threats so far and Theresa May has publicly backed Hunt by saying the Junior Doctors have “never had it so good”. It’s been said that their are cracks in the support the Junior Doctors have received from the public due to the belief that they were on the verge of accepting the contract.
This article will make it very clear on the truth and why this is happening.
This is not a strike about Junior Doctors pay packets. In fact the proposed contract had addressed their issues on pay which is in large part why the BMA had previously recommended that the Junior Doctors should accept the contract and here is where much of the confusion arises. The media is focused on the fact, they say, that the BMA had “accepted” the contract. They hadn’t. They had recommend that it be accepted by its members. Over several months the Junior Doctors had been considering it as by and large the best deal being put on the table. Not necessarily a good one.
This is also not a strike about hours worked. The proposed contract addressed this by reducing the hours that staff would be forced to work.
The strikes being proposed centres around one major issue. That of patient safety. The government is proposing a full seven day NHS. Logically that means a full service will require a full compliment of staff working in hospitals and not just that of Junior Doctors. To do that you would need to increase staff numbers otherwise you are simply stretching the existing staff over more hours covering the full weekend working hours. That is clearly not a full seven day NHS. By stretching the existing workforce it can only end in stretched resources, poorer care for patients and ultimately make it even more unsafe because it wouldn’t just stretch the staff levels on a weekend, it would have to stretch staff levels during the week too as Junior Doctors and other staff are stretched across the full seven days.
Dr Rachel Clarke, Junior Doctor talks to Newsnight on the reasons for the continuing strikes. Video Below (02/09/16)
You may think that the Junior Doctors could just work more hours to cover this but how ironic would that be when the new contracts stipulate a reduction in set working hours. The NHS staff may provide us with life saving care and be some of the most respected workers in the country but that doesn’t make them our slaves. Like any other worker, it’s right that they do not work themselves to the bone. You wouldn’t expect to be treated like that and neither should they expect it. As NHS staff, they deserve our support and respect.
To add insult to injury, recent reports have emerged from the government’s own department of health, released to ministers, highlighting a string of dangers in implementing the plan. The biggest danger drawn up by civil servants was ‘workforce overload’. Meaning “the full service cannot be delivered”. You can read more about this revelation by clicking here.
The Junior Doctors are asking as a minimum for Jeremy Hunt to suspended the imposition of the contracts (forced contracts) and to continue talks behind the scenes only for the contracts to be initiated when the contracts are finally agreed by all parties. You would think this is a logical step. So why is Jeremy Hunt refusing to budge on this issue?
Video Below: Jonathan Pie gives his comical yet serious take on the Junior Doctors
Quite simply Jeremy Hunt has no plan to properly fund or staff the NHS. He did propose a requested £10Billion for the service bur in truth that was a stop gap to stop the NHS collapsing under its own weight there and then and it doesnt address the staffing levels. The reality is, right now, a full seven day NHS is unachievable. With no extra money or staffing levels being implemented what possible solution can he offer that would address this major concern for public safety? As he has no answer to it, he wants to go ahead with it regardless, but why?
It is true to say that an underfunded and understaffed NHS, especially one that is operating at capacity, ie: seven days, would mean that it would be much easier for a Conservative government to suggest and explore more than ever before the idea of privatisation. It’s been suggested by many people including Jeremy Corbyn for many years and more recently Owen Smith, who oddly acted like it was breaking news. It’s been suspected and known for some time. You only have to look at what’s happening with Virgin Health Care to realise that privatisation is already happening under our noses.
Image & text below via B Heard Media
It’s no great leap of imagination to realise that ideally the Conservatives would love to implement much more wide reaching privatisation deals. That though would be race to the bottom for the tax payer in health care and in many cases are far more reaching postcode lottery and a wider split between the have’s and have not’s. That would be a disaster for the much loved NHS and the idea of free health care for all.
Privatisation is at the heart of this and it is for that reason that everyone who loves the NHS and the protection it provides loved ones free at the point of use must defend the Junior Doctors in this battle with the Government. This is not about greedy Doctors. This is about unscrupulous and underhand deals behind the scenes within the government and we must defend it together.
The doctors I am sure will not allow the most sick patients to go untreated. I have every confidence that the most needy will still get the care they deserve during the strikes. Anyone waiting for minor appointments will be seen, but the delay in that operation may just save the NHS that you rely on to get that operation done for free.
Video Below: Cassette Boy has his say on Jeremy Hunt