The dispute over the new contract for junior doctors has been reduced to a squabble over semantics, it seems.
So Jeremy Hunt is now saying he will “introduce” his dangerous and damaging contract, rather than “impose” it – so what?
There won’t be another contract on the table for doctors to sign, so the difference is negligible.
The real issue here is whether significant numbers of NHS staff will say, “We’ve looked at this contract and won’t be taking it up. It is potentially harmful to patients and we would be remiss if we accepted it. We’re taking our expertise somewhere they value patient care.”
Is this what Mr Hunt has wanted all along?
He could then tell the world that doctors have abandoned the NHS, use it as evidence that the NHS has failed, and privatise healthcare in the UK – contrary to everybody else’s wishes and against all the facts.
If he did that, then he would be badly misjudging the mood of the public.
Many thousands of people took to the streets last Saturday, and the Saturday before, to protest against one MP’s tax arrangements.
Imagine the public unrest Mr Hunt will create if he tries to take our NHS away from us.
This Writer’s opinion is that he will. Everything he does is geared towards this goal. He is a Conservative; he thinks he can do whatever he likes.
Of course, you do have a way to express your disagreement…
There is an election taking place next month.
You can express your dissatisfaction with the Conservative Government by pushing them out of council seats across England – and from those seats they hold in the Welsh Assembly.
The Assembly election is particularly important in this respect, as a Welsh Conservative victory would allow them to introduce privatisation in exactly the way the Westminster Tories have in England. They have veiled this with vague and meaningless soundbites, but nobody should be fooled.
Never has the phrase “Toxic Tories” been more apt.
If Jeremy Hunt gets away with his plan, he could end up killing you.
Jeremy Hunt is under mounting pressure over his handling of the junior doctors’ dispute after he unexpectedly abandoned his repeated threat to impose a new contract on them – a move that has led to four strikes by doctors so far.
Hunt’s change of tack, which comes as a high court legal challenge to him over the dispute begins today, has led Labour to claim that he may have misled parliament over the contract imposition because he has spoken of the threat repeatedly in front of MPs in the House of Commons.
Junior doctors are due to strike for a fifth time on 26 and 27 April, this time opting out of all care, including emergency treatment.
The health secretary has retreated from his claim that he has the right to exercise what he called the “nuclear option” of imposition. His U-turn is revealed in a letter from the government’s lawyers that was seen by the Guardian and confirmed by his own Department of Health.
Hunt’s insistence now that he is merely “introducing” the contract has prompted questions about his negotiating tactics during the seven-month dispute and whether he has been in breach of his powers by using the threat. He regularly outlined in Commons debates, speeches and interviews the government’s intention to compel junior doctors to accept changes that have provoked anxiety across the medical profession and NHS.
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