An All-Out Strike?

On Thursday 11th February, Jeremy Hunt announced that he would be unilaterally imposing a new contract on front-line doctors. In his infamous imposition letter, Hunt claimed he had the support of a whole raft of NHS CEOs. In fact, most of them had never seen the letter and did not agree with the imposition.

The BMA had proposed an alternative contract that was ‘cost-neutral’ (no more expensive than the existing deal) but kept Saturday as a weekend day with appropriate pay. Hunt couldn’t accept this because of his obsession with a ‘7-day NHS’, which we all know already exists. He therefore vetoed all such deals offered by the BMA, preventing any settlement that might scupper his plans to force doctors to work extra weekends for no extra pay. To add insult to injury, Hunt claimed that no doctor would work consecutive weekends, and then published ‘example rotas’ that had doctors working three weekends straight.

The BMA has now asserted that, by failing to provide “appropriate funding for the required level of workforce needed to deliver safe services and adequate training”, the government has broken the original ‘heads of terms‘ agreed during the initial negotiations in 2013. There will be no more talks based on ‘cost neutrality’ – that horse has now bolted, and the BMA will settle for nothing less than a fully-funded workforce. As Dr Johann Malawana of the BMA puts it, “We also know – and the public understand this – that if the Government wants junior doctors to take the brunt of delivering more services across seven days, they need to put their money where their mouth is.”

So will we be seeing an all-out strike in the coming weeks and months? The BMA have made it clear that they do not take such action lightly, and have done all they can to avoid harming patient care. But with the Conservative government working to impose an unacceptable contract that is based upon flawed ideology rather than evidence-based medicine, full strike action may be the only option left.

2 thoughts on “An All-Out Strike?”

  1. I have given up supporting the junior doctors except in the general sense of having a common enemy.
    On the day of the strike I went to where they said they would be and there was not a sign of them: the staff at the centre said they had gone off into town somewhere.
    When I did eventually find one of their number, he would not give me the time of day…
    Which is a pity because the doctors have the capability to properly sort out this mess, but they do not appear to have the knowledge of how to do it.
    This country is a democracy. The government’s conduct is in direct opposition to the apparent will of the people and is potentially unconstitutional.

    If we change that appearance into knowledge then that potential becomes realised.

    Like

  2. I support the junior doctors in their struggle against this appalling Cameron/Hunt vanity project. The NHS does not belong to the Conservative Party, it belongs to the people, all the people. The hidden agenda in all of this is the ultimate replacement of the NHS by private providers, whose first priority is profit not care, the majority of them from the USA. The junior doctors should sue Cameron/Hunt for constructive dismissal through breach of contract, and should start now.

    Liked by 1 person

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