[Wednesday 6 January]
Keep Our NHS Public has vowed to stand besides the junior doctors in their continued struggle against the imposition of an unsafe and unfair contract by a government which is determined to lower pay and worsen conditions for all NHS staff. The government is doing this as a preliminary to further ‘cherry-picking’ by private companies and prolonged starving of funds for the NHS.
Keep Our NHS Public, whose members will be joining the junior doctors on demonstrations and picket lines whenever they occur, sees this latest attack as only one of many that will happen if the doctors lose their fight – which has the backing of their senior colleagues and other health professionals. This government is mounting a sustained, planned attack on the NHS under the myth of establishing a “24/7 NHS” so that it can continue to starve the NHS of the funds it needs and rob staff of their pay and conditions while encouraging selective privatisation of services put out to tender.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public and a consultant paediatrician, said:
“Junior doctors were given no choice by Jeremy Hunt but to move to strike to defend their contractual terms and conditions of work and the health service they work for. The doctors are right to say changes to their contract would be unfair for them and unsafe for patients. Hunt’s contract heralds loss of regulation, longer hours and lower rates of pay.
“Hunt is trying to cheapen the cost of training NHS staff and reduce pay for out of hours work. He has extended this attack to removal of student nurse bursaries. Consultants have committed to supporting the juniors. Continuity and emergency cover will ensure patients are safe and well-cared for.
“This battle defines the struggle to defend our NHS. This Government plans to deregulate, to starve core services of adequate funding whilst encouraging cherry-picking of specialty areas put out to tenders from the private sector. We stand with our junior doctors in their hour of need.”
Dr Jacky Davis, Keep Our NHS Public’s Treasurer and a consultant radiologist:
“We back the junior doctors fight with Hunt. He has acted in bad faith throughout and is using bogus argument about a ’24/7 NHS’ (which we already have) to achieve two aims – to reduce pay by reducing the number of hours designated ‘antisocial’ and to stop pay progression. If the junior doctors lose he will roll this out for all other NHs staff.
“Plenty of hospitals have organised appropriate staff rotas without changing staff contracts. This has nothing to do with ’24/7 NHS’ and everything do with lower pay and worse conditions. The junior doctors fight is vital to our fight for the NHS and we back them all the way.”
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: www.keepournhspublic.com
KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 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.
 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.]