No way back

By the time you read this the so-called ‘junior-doctors’ and the consultants will be on strike, together, in a concerted effort to force His Majesty’s Government into meeting their demands.

The JDs want a 35% pay rise and the consultants want something or other that I can’t quite fathom… more money I suspect. I don’t know how much more.

Coordinated strike action between unions is tricky as strict rules apply, timelines, balloting and so-on. 

However, the Consultants and the JDs belong to the same union and coordination is much easier.

Make no mistake, there is no end in sight. 

Last week, at the Downing Street summit the NHS walked away with an extra £200m, ostensibly for ‘winter planning’. 

Actually, winter plans have been in place for sometime. The money was really a sweetener to help the hospitals pay for agency and additional cost, occasioned by the strikes.

HMG don’t look like they’re giving in. They’d rather quietly pay hospitals to cope than pay doctors more money and look like they can’t cope. Anyway, strikes extend waiting lists and get Sunak of the hook on one of his five promises.

Curiously, the real row that doctors have is principally with the BMA. For more than ten years they’ve sat on their hands and watched the value of their members’ wages erode and acquiesced in unfavourable pay review board decisions. 

They’ve been asleep at the wheel.

As Shaun Lintern reported in the £walled Times; a group of disgruntled young doctors called @Doctors_Vote, [in much the same way Momentum took over Corbyn’s Labour Party], stood for election in internal BMA elections and won 70 out of the 75 seats available. They are running the show… not the ‘old BMA boy’s club’.

Can Doctors-Vote pull off a victory?

Back to Lintern. He reports cracks may be beginning to appear in DV’s solidarity. A prospect hotly disputed by the hard-liners.

There’s little doubt that as the strikes progress into winter (and they will) many doctors will be thinking of their commitment ‘to do no harm’. 

Harm is being done now, on strike days, as patients turfed off the waiting lists are dumped into a no-man’s-land of uncertainty, anxiety and panic. 

Data from the ONS shows; excess deaths in England almost tripled in the two weeks during and after the first set of strikes by the BMA in March. 

However, the BMA’s council chairman Professor Philip Banfield said;

… it is not possible to determine the impact of its first round of strikes on excess deaths without “rigorous validation and academic study”.’

I suppose he needs a few more deaths to make it clearer. How many, I wonder, will it take to make common-sense statistically acceptable?


The BMA says Sunak makes them strike and they are selflessly making things worse, so they can get better. 

Actually, the only person that can make you do anything is the one you meet in the mirror, every morning. There must be an outbreak of depersonalisation-derealisation-disorder among doctors. A medical first.

So what to do?

The Confed have palavered about.

NHS Providers haven’t provided much in the way of anything useful. I think they’ve written to Downing Street and what-not. I’m told, Number Ten has a big shredder.

Neither will it take-on HMG because, to stay relevant they have to ‘stay in the tent’, so they hold their nose.

The Patients’ Association? Dunno… are they still a thing?

The GMC claim to protect patients and could threaten striker’s registrations but don’t have the guts.

NHSE board reduced to errand-boys. The executive leaderless, voiceless, no influence.

Politicians, content to watch the end of their time in power contaminate public life, pollute the waters for their successors. 

Industrial relations in the NHS is a catastrophe…. it needs reframing.

If Labour can get beyond musing about beating-up non-Doms, some policy thinking on what that might look like would be helpful. 

The same goes for the so-called ‘think-tanks’, who seem content with hand-wringing and tut-tut press releases…

… it’s the ‘tent’ thing, again.

There’s no leadership. No one with any guts. Let’s be brutal…

… the skids are under the NHS. Older people are raiding their pension-pots to pay for what they need. The middle classes have their doc-in-yer-pocket-apps and private medical insurance. 

We’re heading for a poor service for poor people.

The waiting lists are nudging 8m and will go up…

... there’s no way back. 

Nurse recruitment, for the first time ever, is down…

… there’s no way to claw that back.

More than 13,000 doctors who trained in the UK now work abroad…

... they won’t come back.

Doctors have broken the bond of trust with the public and are making impossible demands…

… there’s no way back.

Don’t get old, don’t get sick, don’t be poor…

… there’s no way back.

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