[Monday 11 January]
We give the junior doctors our full-throated and unequivocal support for the step they are taking. The historic and reluctant step of striking tomorrow. But not for the reasons the government will want people to think we are doing this for.
We will stand with them because:
- Health Secretary Hunt has persistently failed to listen. He simply will not accept that most doctors will be worse off.
- He has failed constantly to even admit that this new contract – if applied – would mean patient safety would be jeopardised, with tired, over-worked staff more likely to make mistakes. And no sanction from this government on trusts who simply ignore the safeguards.
- He will never admit to what this is really about: the undermining of NHS staff so they can be made to work longer hours for less pay, at times most of us would reasonably expect to be paid more, not less. Doctors first, then the rest. This has nothing to do with making the NHS “24/7” (which the doctors themselves now say is insane: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/633520/NHS-cannot-afford-weekend-24-7-service-doctors-warn ); everything to do with making it more pliable for private sell-off. Creating a two-tier service: paid for privately; and leaving what’s left of the NHS that the private firms do not want (because there is no profit to be made, even more under-funded and over-stretched).
Doctors are not given to withdrawing their labour. They do not go through 5 years of the toughest academic training possible after fighting off dozens to hundreds of candidates even to get to medical school, followed by at least as long as they learn the skills of their craft while still regarded as “juniors”, to take hasty or petulant action on a mass scale. “Unethical” is really the least appropriate word the government could choose to smear them with. This really is their last resort.
Dr John Lister, Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public’s Secretary:
“We expect to be told that this is about a ‘24/7’ NHS; or that it is being ‘engineered’ by a divisive faction within the BMA (laughable, to anyone who knows that institution); or that it will put patients’ lives at risk; or it is ‘unethical’. No. It is not. It is about saving the NHS while those who care about it still can. The doctors are all about caring and that is why we stand with them. We are there. We will always be there. There is nowhere else to be.”
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.]