Perhaps ironically, This Writer has been holding off discussing the latest wave of junior doctor strikes because I’ve been ill lately and wanted to be more fully capable of handling the issues with an unclouded mind.
But events are moving too fast to allow that, it seems.
Two thoughts occurred today, listening to coverage of the story:
Firstly, why are any doctors condemning the prospect of five-day strikes? Do they not realise that, once Jeremy Hunt’s new contracts come into force, the number of staff available to do any work will be roughly the same as during the strike action?
Also, it seemed striking that Jeremy Hunt is now the one appealing for co-operation and negotiation. Last summer, he was resolute in his refusal to allow any negotiation at all, except on just one detail out of – how many? 23?
He’s changed his tune!
I realise that some readers may take issue with the tone of this article. Of course it is inaccurate to suggest that Jeremy Hunt’s seven-day-a-week NHS will be as difficult to run as it would be during a five-day strike. It will probably be much worse.
That is why the strike is necessary: For the good of your health.
Senior doctors have voiced strong opposition to the series of five-day strikes planned by their junior colleagues, warning that the action will cause real problems for patients, the service and the profession.
In a surprise statement on Thursday evening, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges – which brings together doctors’ professional bodies – distanced itself from the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, which has called the strike. The academy was “disappointed at the prospect of further sustained industrial action by junior doctors”, it said in a statement after several agonised hours of deliberation.
“We are acutely aware that the NHS is under extreme pressure at the moment,” it said. “Patient safety and quality of care must be the priority. We know there are genuine concerns about the contract and working arrangements but we do not consider the proposed strikes are proportionate.
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