We need to talk about Jeremy. Not Beadle, although it’d be nice to think that the imposition of junior doctors contracts without further negotiation was one big, elaborate hoax.
Sadly not, last week it was announced that the Health Secretary would be going ahead with his plan to impose contracts extending junior doctors’ normal working hours to 9pm on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. It’d probably be a cheap shot to compare that with the core working hours of an MP after all they’re only running the bloody place.
The real world effect is that junior doctors will be working longer hours at the same basic rate, no overtime – if someone told me I’d have to work longer and harder for my basic pay, I’d be pretty hacked off too. If my job required me to save lives, I’d be downright petrified about the impact on my patients.
Beyond the combo of paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain (thanks mum), my medical knowledge is zilch and my political nous is probably on a par with that. Thankfully I’m neither required to save lives nor make decisions affecting all of those people who do.
But what I do know with some certainty is that I don’t like being lied to and patronised by smoke and mirror stats to support the shafting of a huge proportion of the nations’ junior doctors.
Of all the intelligent, hardworking, all round good eggs I studied with at school and through university, those whose calling was medicine were among the most diligent and the most driven (not to mention the undisputed champions at the student union). Not a single one of them were lazy or ‘in it for the money’: there are far easier ways to make a few quid.
I do know that I do not trust a man who has openly proclaimed that the NHS should be no more to make the most appropriate choices for our health service and the people who serve it so doggedly. I don’t mind a passing interest in homeopathy though, I’m a reasonable sort.
It’s not a secret that the NHS isn’t perfect – fantastic but not perfect – and really, is grinding down 55,000 junior doctors the way to bring about meaningful change? I doubt it. Transparency, real negotiation and actually, a healthy dose of respect for the vocation is surely what’s needed.
It is complete and utter lunacy to impose working conditions on medics resourced lower than most of their European counterparts, to publicly denounce them and disregard their quite rational concerns before committing public funds to understanding why they might be demoralised.
Jeremy, please stop pissing off the nations care givers. It’s just not cricket.