Patients will suffer ‘with or without a strike’

Letters in The Times 29th September give an accurate assessment. If politicians and bureaucrats wish to control the profession they need a long term strategy to produce overcapacity:

Patients will suffer ‘with or without a strike’

Junior doctors new contract jeremy hunt strike surgeons Ian Williams The Bad Doctor sicknotes the guardian guardian g2 G2 nhs

Junior doctors
new contract
jeremy hunt
Ian Williams
The Bad Doctor
the guardian
guardian g2

Junior doctors are brewing up for strike action over the government’s imposed contract, but no one will be the winner

Sir, The new junior doctor contract will remove vital protections on safe working patterns and see a return to us working up to 90 hours a week. With the best will in the world, we cannot be held responsible if such dangerously long hours put patients directly at risk.

The new contract will also lead to an exodus of highly trained NHS professionals to countries or jobs where they will be better respected and rewarded. Over the past decade, our job conditions have been eroded by pay freezes, banding reductions, pension cuts and the removal of free hospital accommodation. If the government imposes this contract, junior doctors (who have a basic starting salary of £23,000) will face a pay cut of about 30 per cent — leaving those who have graduated with well over £50,000 of student debt and earning less than the national average. None of us go into the profession for the money but rather out of an innate desire to help to save and improve lives. Yet a line has now been crossed that breaches both safety and fairness.

We are all junior doctors and members of the National Health Action Party, and urge the health secretary to withdraw this ill-judged contract and thereby prevent what is likely to be a vote in favour of a strike — for which he will bear ultimate responsibility.

Alex Ashman; Dr Hugh Cummin; Dr Georgina Fozard; Dr Jamie Keough; Dr Julian Ormerod; Dr Benjamin Post; Dr Piyush Pushkar; Dr Poppy Roberts; Dr Tim Smith; Dr Ruth Wiggans; Dr Rebecca Wilson; Dr Marcus Baw; Dr Rachel Taylor

Sir, If we as the medical profession strike, it will be the patients who suffer. If we as the medical profession do not strike and the contract is imposed, it will be the patients who suffer. It is now the responsibility of anyone who is or has been or will be a patient, anyone who knows a patient or a prospective patient, to stand up to the government and for themselves and their families. A strike is not the answer, but neither is the alternative.

S Shankar
General surgical registrar, Oxford

Sir, Junior doctors represent the future leaders of our NHS. Their current contract, however, is out of date and is unfair to doctors — a view supported by NHS Employers and the BMA. We have accepted the BMA’s assertion that a new contract is required that better protects doctors and patients, promotes a good quality of life, and ensures that doctors have more stable earnings. There are a few misunderstandings that need to be cleared up, however. Junior doctors will not see dramatic reductions in their earnings, as the government has made it clear that no savings are being sought from the pay bill for junior doctors.

We have no intention of reducing GPs’ pay and we will use pay premiums to help to attract doctors into the specialties with the greatest shortages. Finally, a new contract will provide greater safeguards regarding hours of work, not less.

Danny Mortimer
Chief executive, NHS Employers

Sir, The government has suggested that the hours between 7am and 10pm Monday to Saturday would represent “normal” working hours for junior doctors. This is perplexing, as MPs do not sit before 9.30am, have an average finish time of 7pm and sat for a total of 989 hours last year — the lowest figure since 1979.

Not only this, but they receive a meal allowance if they work beyond 7.30pm and a free taxi home if they work beyond 11pm. Parliament finishes early every Friday and has only sat four times on a Saturday since 1939. Maybe we are not all in this together.

Dr Anthony Cohn
London NW4

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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