“I’d like to thank the junior doctors who ignored the BMA national advice and did go back to work. And I think that shows the values of the vast majority of junior doctors”
Yes Jeremy. The 10,000 who turned up were scheduled to do so to cover emergencies or else were not members of the BMA and not part of the strike action. They didn’t ignore BMA advice. 98% of the 37,700 BMA members agreed with the action and advice on a 76% turnout. That means 74% of all eligible junior doctors supported strike action. A vastly greater mandate than the 24% of the eligible public who voted for the conservative party.
“In the end this is a completely unnecessary dispute”
If you feel it is unnecessary they why are you disputing? It is not a unilateral dispute. We are not disagreeing with ourselves here. If it is unnecessary you could simply concede to our demands?
“We have some disagreements with the BMA over pay”
Much as Boris Johnson did with the tube strikes the government are attempting to re-frame the argument to one that makes Junior doctors appear greedy. As though we are asking for more pay. At the very most we are asking to not have our pay cut. We are not striking to ask for more pay. A fairer wage to reflect our skills. Or even a wage that would allow us to consider buying a home in most London boroughs these days.
Repeatedly junior doctors make clear the dispute is not about pay. Repeatedly in their sound bites Hunt and Cameron refer to pay as though it is THE issue we are fighting over. If you repeat a lie often enough people can believe it is true.
“But we all want to promise every patient who uses the NHS the promise of the same high quality care every day of the week”
I think most doctors would agree this would be fantastic. To be clear we have a 7 day service in the NHS. Doctors work 7 days as do almost all healthcare professionals in the NHS. What Hunt wants however is not to provide a 7 day NHS by increasing staffing or funding. He simply wants to redress Saturday evenings as being normal working hours. When my bank is open at 9pm on Saturday evening I may class it as a normal working hour. Until then it is unsociable.
“And at the moment we have an NHS where if you have a stroke at the weekends, you’re 20% more likely to die. That can’t be acceptable”
This statistic appears shocking and this is exactly what it is meant to do. Hunt knows full well most of the public will not look into the source of this statistic. This comes from one journal. The authors themselves admit a large part of this difference is likely due to the fact that only the most severe stroke cases are admitted on the weekend. Undertaking a multi-million pound reorganisation of the NHS based on one piece of evidence could be extremely dangerous and foolhardy. Sadly for our government it would not be the first time.
“And the right thing to do is not to strike, but actually sit round the table and talk to the government about how we deliver a truly seven-day NHS.”
Amazing that Hunt thinks that the right thing to do is to sit around a table and talk. Considering he was the one wanting not to talk but to impose the contract upon us. Considering most doctors have fairly strong opinions on how to deliver a seven day NHS and would be happy to talk about it. Considering Hunt has not involved us or our ideas in how to go about that process. Considering the thing most doctors agree on is that the way to a 7 day NHS is NOT via this junior doctor contract. Well we will look forward to the invite to the steering meeting Mr Hunt. I don’t mind sitting between Richard Branson and Lynton Crosby.