The junior doctors, amidst a storm of crafted “spin” and ludicrous claims that the BMA has somehow been “hijacked” by a bunch of irresponsible Lefties, are taking strike action tomorrow (Tuesday 12 January). An historic and reluctant step they had to take. We are with them.
You would expect us to be. But not for the reasons the government will want people to think we are. We will stand with them because:
- Hunt has persistently failed to listen. He simply will not accept that most doctors will be worse off.
- Hunt 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.
- Hunt 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”; everything to do with making it more pliable for private sell-off. Creating a two-tier service, paid for and what’s left of the NHS 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 – so of course it is trying to. This really is their last resort.
We expect the national media to trot out the standard spin they are being fed: that this is about a “24/7” NHS; it is being “engineered” by a divisive faction within the BMA (laughable, to anyone who knows that institution; to say they are nearly always conservative is a moderated statement); or it will put patients’ lives at risk; or it is “unethical”. No, no, no, no. It is not. It is about saving the NHS while those who care about it still can. It is about taking a stand against a monstrous, uncaring ideology which attacks every principle the NHS was founded on simply because it can’t accommodate them. It is about caring. That is why we stand with them. We are there. We will always be there. There is nowhere else to be.
Support the junior doctors. Support us while we support them. Join us now.