Junior Doctors: is that it?




mefacebookDoctors’ leaders and the BMA are likely to come out of the ‘deal’ struck with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt looking like rogue elephants who conceived a gerbil. Although slightly improving the rates for unsocial hours, their pay increase has been cut by 15%.

Hunt – who triumphantly referred to the agreement as “cost neutral” – is probably feeling pleased with himself (it is after all his default emotion) but several facets of his behaviour during the dispute cast doubts over his sincerity:

  • The Health Secretary’s assertions about a “bubble” in hospital deaths at the weekend proved to be pure invention.
  • If through this short engagement he has achieved cost neutrality for the NHS, why couldn’t he have done so months ago?
  • His intransigence during the dispute has not been cost-neutral for the NHS: it will now have to pay out more in overtime to clear the backlog. This is something the Health Service can ill afford, and Mr Hunt knows this perfectly well.

Yesterday, The latest Kings Fund study recorded two in three senior hospital managers saying care for patients has worsened in the last year alone, while fully 90% expect to end the year in the red. Waiting lists are the worst they have been since late 2007, and the NHS faces what TKF described as a “Herculean” task to make ends meet without harming patient care.

The think tank called the findings “the most worrying” since it began tracking quality of care.

Many junior doctors are today furious at what they call “a sellout” and “a joke”, and viewing things as a neutral, it’s hard to deny the logic of their view. In particular, the Government’s attempt to get a seven-day NHS ‘on the cheap’ seems to have succeeded. This was summed up admirably by junior doctor Will Rook, who called the new deal “worse than its predecessor”.

“It hasn’t addressed a lot of the concerns I had in the first place around trying to spread a five-day service over seven days without having extra people to do the job. It also appears to further devalue our work-life balance. A 10% supplement for working one in two weekends a month is a joke. The disruption it causes is immense” said Dr Rook.

I understand, however, that the general feeling is the deal will be accepted. So Mill-owner Hunt of Hotcourses gets what he wants: a lot more work for very little money, and the finances of the NHS remaining in a parlous state, unchecked. In the end, exhausted strikers who care about the service are likely to give in. Jeremy Hunt doesn’t GAF about the Health Service, so he doesn’t have their problem.

One wonders at what point the Hunt narrative will take on the concerned look of a genuine man shocked by how the NHS is falling apart….and in need of emergency help from private insurers who can offer patients ‘top up’ mutuals – thus bringing nearly 70 years of free healthcare in Britain to an end.

Will he take the same line the DWP/Treasury did with the WASPIs, risibly suggesting that they should’ve pored over Green Papers over twenty years ago….instead of just “breezing through life”?

I can almost hear the debate:

Mr Speaker: The member for Newham North East Mr Patel

Patel: Is the Secretary of State aware that 97% of British citizens cannot afford the Health topups on offer from the Delaware Wellbeing Trust, and are thus dying in their thousands?

Jeremy Hunt: With all due respect to the honourable gentleman opposite, if these foolish people couldn’t see NHS privatisation coming the minute I got this job, then they must have been blind.

Speaker: Mr Patel…

Patel: But the Prime Minister had said two years before that how much he valued the NHS…

Hunt: You cannot expect the Prime Minister to have foreseen the global economic headwinds that arrived in 2014, nor could he have imagined that a group of greedy junior doctors would bring the NHS to its knees. I should also point out to the honourable gentleman that, by contrast, I co-authored a pamphlet in 2008 saying we needed to demolish the NHS brick by brick. As this is what I have done, the Party opposite can hardly complain.

Yesterday at The Slog: The Washington Hillarybillies are a-comin’ to town

15 thoughts on “Junior Doctors: is that it?

  1. When it comes to the Department of Stealth, in the NHS the term “cost neutral” is merely a fig leaf. History shows that the Royal College of Shroud Weavers and Wavers always, but always wins, no matter what system of health care is in operation…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As soon as I heard that the BMA were going back to negotiating, I thought “what a coincidence, just as the election Is over.” Of course, the strikes would have no bearing on the election, would they. Was the big noise at ACAS at one time the big noise at the TUC. BMA playing politics, never!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘cast doubts over his sincerity’? Nope, not possible, Hunt is to sincerity, as Gengis Khan was to peace and tranquility.
    I can imagine Cameron saying, “Yep, he’s our boy” in the same way Giethner said the same about Fifi…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The body corporate lasciviously ogles our corporeal existence and would rather see our personal finances on life-support than control it’s unnatural urges. Hunt is a sick man – nurse, he’s out of bed again!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. People might not like it but best just walk away … You will never win, you are not allowed to win and that is “ever”.

    You can never negotiate, to negotiate is to agree, then in a couple of years once you have accepted the promises are torn up with no accountability. I see this policy in everything now and the EU is just another if not even worse example.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Old Geezer it does seem funny that once Hunt actually sits down and talks he gets a better deal,than he was offering!but since i doctors themselves haven’t backed this new deal yet! ii it was Hunt who refused to talk earlier, to claim it was political move by the BMA part is livingstonest in it’s logic! to the actual facts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Is this so-called agreement just another step towards what is happening in the US?

    Where workers on a production line have to wear nappies because they aren’t allowed pauses, even to go to the toilet?


    What beats me is that people actually ACCEPT these working conditions. Mind you, the British government has never been scared of a revolution such as happened in Budapest – or St Petersburg in 1917.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. @Gemma – “the British government has never been scared of a revolution such as happened in Budapest – or St Petersburg in 1917.”
    That might be because the British people certainly don’t have the same fire in their bellies – their oppression today is nothing compared to what the population had to endure under the tzar or the commies.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is all standard practice.

    A simple formula that has been used on all former [now private] services.

    First, you trash the service by loading it up with unnecessary expenses.

    Then,once you have made it top heavy with managers, extra expenditure, extra costs, higher prices and other forms of legalized fraud, you create administerial chaos and personel instability.

    Then you churn out carefully scripted propaganda about how we cannot afford it any more.

    Then once you have fraudulently ‘cooked the books’ you flog the service off on the cheap according to a pre-arranged aggreement.

    The new owners remove all the artificial overheads and enjoy the moneeeeee fron their cheap assets.

    All the politicians concerned swan off to America to collect their thirty pieces of silver.

    The peasantry have to pay twice as much for half the service they used to get for free from the service that they payed to build and run.

    Same old formula.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. @spike That’s about spot on.. from my dank corner of the NHS the evidence is written 10 feet tall of the exact dynamic you describe…

    The ‘7 day NHS’ was a cheap trick and of course now people will expect routine stuff done at weekends. With no extra resources I can guarantee that emergency care is going to take an enormous beating to prop up this charade.

    Of course the next phase is to sell off all the ‘easy’ stuff like day surgery to the highest bidder leaving the ‘difficult’ cases to the core NHS – which will be by that time a hollow core.

    Don’t get ill.. and for pity’s sake don’t develop a mental illness.

    Liked by 1 person

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