Press release: The Strikes are ALL About Safety

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[6 September 2016]

Keep Our NHS Public recognises the courage of the BMA and the junior doctors in postponing their strike action[1] because it was unsafe not to. But the government plays a dangerous game with us all.

The decision to call off next week’s strike was taken for exactly the same reasons as those behind the strike in the first place: safety of patients.  Despite the fact that an increasing number of expert opinions were supporting the strike[2], countering claims that ‘medical opinion’ was ranged against it. But Hunt simply will not listen. This government’s agenda is gambling with the safety of patients by falsely using the excuse of a ‘7 day service’ to impose a contract on a key workforce that must mean they are even more stretched. It is also becoming clear – as Tory MP Nick Bowles revealed when arguing against KONP’s position on Radio 4 yesterday (Monday 7 September[3]) – that this government has far more lined up than imposing the juniors’ unfair contract.  More anti-strike legislation and a dismantling of the NHS as it undermines the conditions of one staff group after the other. The juniors are only the beginning. It will end with the ending of the NHS as a public service for all.

Which is why the junior doctors and all NHS staff fighting for the NHS have our full support.

All Jeremy Hunt has to do is return to negotiating. But he refuses to do so. His party is committed to dismantling the NHS, as last week’s disclosure about the true nature of the ‘STP’ plans[4] showed clearly. We hope the government’s true intentions will be recognised and condemned for what they are in the Opposition Debate on STPs planned for the Commons tomorrow (Wednesday 7 September[5]) and call on all opposition MPs to attend this debate and challenge the government about their deception over the NHS[6].

Keith Venables, Keep Our NHS Public’s Co-Chair, said:

“We know that this imposition is about undermining the terms and conditions of all health service staff, and part of the drive towards privatization. The junior doctors have decided to suspend their strike action in September on the grounds of patient safety and I understand and respect that. It is their decision to make – not ours. Keep Our NHS Public activists across the country will continue to campaign for the NHS and prepare to support the juniors in the very near future.”

 

[Ends]

 

Editors’ Notes

Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 65 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need.  It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details: www.keepournhspublic.com

KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

press@keepournhspublic.com

healthjournos@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/keepnhspublic

Facebook: Keep-Our-NHS-Public

 

[1] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.

Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin

Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press

Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.

Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.

 

[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models

[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.

Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37279712
[2] https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2016/september/medical-experts-urge-return-to-contract-negotiations
[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07rkh2z  (29 mins into programme)
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/26/nhs-plans-radical-cuts-to-fight-growing-deficit-in-health-budget
[5] http://calendar.parliament.uk/calendar/Commons/All/2016/9/7/Daily
[6] Campaign group 38 Degrees is also calling on all its e-mail recipients to encourage their MPs to attend this debate.


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