Today Wednesday 8am, junior doctors across the UK began their 4th spell of strike action with the public firmly on their side and Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health coming under increasing criticism. Johann Malawana, British Medical Association junior doctors committee chair was quoted on the BMA website saying,
‘By pursuing its current course, the Government risks alienating a generation of doctors.
‘If it continues to ignore junior doctors’ concerns, at a time when their morale is already at rock-bottom, doctors may vote with their feet, which will clearly affect the long-term future of the NHS and the care it provides.
‘Responsibility for industrial action now lies entirely with the Government. It must start listening and resume negotiations on a properly funded junior doctors’ contract to protect the future of patient care and the NHS.’
“Junior Doctors continue their campaign against Jeremy Hunt’s unsafe and unfair contract. The aim of the government is clear, privatisation of the health service. Only united action by all health workers can stop them in their tracks”
While Hunt cycled off evading questions, the Patients Association rallied around the doctors challenging attempts to impose what Dr David Rouse called a “toxic contract” on hours and rotas with issues over pay. Doctors fear being pushed to their limits which would place profit above safety.
Posted by Dr Hamed Khan
The Department of Health appears to be riding away from its responsibilities in terms of equality also. GP registrar Dr Marie McVeigh of Just Health that are mounting a legal challenge told GP On Line, “the DH equality assessment showed the contract was ‘detrimental to women’ it’s absolutely outrageous in the 21st century that a contract has been designed that has these problems in it.”
Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment Systems at Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, explores what she calls the government’s “tortured logic” in the following blog stating, “the outcome is hardly surprising; the last thing a government wants to concede is that they got it wrong” see following link,
“What are the real implications for equality in junior doctors’ new contracts?”
Jacqui Berry, a nurse and campaigner was unable to join doctors on the picket line due to working a night shift but posted a video message of support to NHS colleagues on Twitter. She said, “Junior Doctors continue their campaign against Jeremy Hunt’s unsafe and unfair contract. The aim of the government is clear, privatisation of the health service. Only united action by all health workers can stop them in their tracks.”
Although doctors were on strike, they were far from idle. Medics took time to educate the public on basic life saving skills, some donated blood while colleagues in other parts of the country signed up to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. The DOH called the action, “irresponsible and disproportionate” claiming that with almost 25,ooo operations cancelled so far patients were suffering. However the public tooted their horns to encourage the strikers and sent messages of support via social media. The staff of Green Wing a British sitcom set in the fictional East Hampton Hospital turned up at Northwick Park to show their solidarity.
Images from today’s Junior Doctors’ Strike
Junior Doctors Strike For Fourth Time In West Sussex (via Spirit FM)
(Via Nadia Masood)
Junior doctors on strike have staged ‘die in’ on Whitehall calling on Health Secretary to step down (Global’s Newsroom)
Lots of junior docs on strike signing up to the
@AnthonyNolan bone marrow register at Whitechapel ideas store! Come! (via Bart’s Junior Docs)
Who do you believe?
#JuniorDoctorsStrike (via UK Uncut)
“Junior doctor contract negotiations: FAQs on junior doctor contract proposals”
“Junior doctor contract ‘worse than feared’, say GP trainees behind £100,000 legal action”
“Celebrities brand Jeremy Hunt ridiculous as junior doctors strike for 48 hours”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.