Press release: Hunt’s arrogance will cost us all

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[Thursday 11 February 2016]

Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose the employers’ latest contract on junior doctors despite massive support for their cause should not surprise anyone: the arrogance of this government has defined their handling of the NHS since they came into power. But the most unpleasant surprises are what lies behind the government’s latest move, and the legacy they are willing to risk. A dwindling, demotivated and resentful workforce, in the very service that at some time or another looks after all of us, which has nothing to do with a “24-hour, 7-day-a-week NHS” and everything to do with cutting costs and breaking the NHS apart to fulfil the warped ideal of a privatised health service.

Dr Jacky Davis is an NHS Consultant Radiologist and is Treasurer for Keep Our NHS Public:

“Hunt has now lost the confidence of all NHS staff. His ‘7 day NHS’ already exists – as any NHS staff member will tell him. He wants a “new, routine 24/7 NHS”. He can’t afford it without making savage cuts to wages, terms and conditions for all staff: that is his end-game. The irony is, patients don’t want a routine 7-day NHS.

“We have always had a seven day NHS. Emergency and out-of-hours care can always be improved but it doesn’t need a new contract, as devolved nations and some trusts have shown. Ironically his efforts have halted clinical moves to do this. He is still using weekend mortality statistics which everyone, including the authors of his evidence and BMJ editor, have accused him of misquoting.

 “His ‘7 day NHS’ is a smokescreen for enforcing new contracts on unwilling staff. He will be after the rest of the NHS now to trim back hours that count as antisocial.”


Dr John Lister is Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public:

“Most people will be shocked to see what low basic rates junior doctors have been working on for years. Any attempt to get them to work even longer and harder without due reward is likely to drive many of the future doctors we need to seek jobs overseas.”



Editors’ Notes

Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 46 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:


KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]

[email protected]


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.]

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  1. Hunt’s arrogance: So why is there nothing on the agenda about bringing Hunt down? He is totally exposed. The NHS activists need a single issue focus that will bring a real win. Hunt’s resignation or firing is it. A national vote of no confidence would bolster the JDs and unite the campaign.
    Successive governments have ignored marches and demos. Why continue – unless you are prepared to engage in civil disobedience?
    Do these ring a bell? FREE MANDELA, SALT MARCH, FREEDOM MARCH.
    Is the Health and Social Care Act an “unjust law”? If so, then give it the Martin Luther King treatment. It is as vital as that.

    Please, no more same old, same old.

    • Yes, there is a danger with too few campaigners doing their utmost: people become exhausted, run out of ideas and give up. We are many, but if isolated it feels as if we are few. Single issues can overcome that, for a time. The NHS Bill presentation to Parliament on 11 March will be one opportunity – though the Bill itself will almost certainly fail. But we must also be mindful that this fight cannot be won through a single, parliamentary step now: the battles will be local, and can be won locally. Again, coordinated communications makes local groups feel they are not alone, and reduces reinventing the wheel. That’s a big part of what KONP is trying to do.

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