A Dark Day For Our NHS

Despite the backlash, the controversy, the strikes, the overwhelming support of the British public, Jeremy Hunt has pressed on and has announced that the Government will impose the new contracts on the Junior Doctors.

In my opinion by simply forcing the contract rather than continuing with negotiations suggests the Health Secretary is lacking in confidence in his own arguments and perhaps shows that he is afraid of the public beginning to see through his incoherent points.

The Junior Doctors contribute massively to our health care system and this needs to be valued and recognised with more significance. The years of training and hard work they go through to look after the people of Britain should not be going unnoticed.  The imposition of a new contract, which has been unanimously fought against will only lead to more strikes and further problems for Jeremy Hunt.

Could this symbolise the beginning of the end for one of the greatest achievements in British Politics; The NHS?

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Jeremy Hunt Describes the BMA as ‘Totally Irresponsible’…

Jeremy Hunt was on the Andrew Marr show to to launch a new initiative for a paperless NHS, however large parts of the interview was dominated by the controversy regarding the new Junior Doctors’ contract.

The Health Secretary was made to sit and listen live on TV to the complaints of junior doctors who said they were “despairing and close to quitting medicine” – and that it was all his fault.

Here is a clip from the programme and his response in which he describes the BMA as “totally irresponsible”…

For the first time in 40 years #JuniorDoctorsStrike

Junior doctors should be made to work long, unsocial hours, whilst also getting a pay cut, right? NO

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, wants to create a National Health Service that runs 7 days a week- Okay, nothing wrong so far. Except the government can’t afford to and do not currently have the capacity to do this. So, in order to make the plans feasible, junior doctors’ hours will be increased, overall pay will decrease, and ultimately patients will suffer- Okay, now its going wrong.

Before I continue, Junior Doctors are basically any qualified doctor who is not a consultant nor a General Practitioner. There are around 55,000 Junior Doctors in England.

For the first time in 40 years, Doctors are going on strike and this is why:

It’s not about money. In November, whilst the doctors were offered a pay rise by 11%, this was offset by cutting pay for anti-social hours. And these hours are the reason for the ongoing dispute.

The UK has a finite number of junior doctors, and the NHS is being severely over stretched, even before the implementation of a 7 day NHS. ‘Social Hours’ used to mean Monday to Friday, between 7am to 7pm. However, with an expansion of services, and a limited number of doctors to cover, social hours now include Saturdays and hours up to 10pm. Under the previous contract, working these unsociable hours meant earning extra pay, however that has now been cut by 25%.

Unsocial hours means their right to a work-life balance, to spend time with their own families is taken away. It means increased pressure on the doctors, who already work in probably the most pressured working environment.

Patients will also suffer. Tired, stressed, and overworked doctors’ who lack morale and motivation is clearly not good, and will put patients at risk.

Doctors, obviously, are at the heart of making the NHS work, they are the ones having to make life changing decisions, treating cancer patients, carrying out open heart surgery, and the one’s who will have to inform the families of their patients the bad news, and now Jeremy Hunt wants them to have to go through all of that, some more. The NHS was founded by Aneurin Bevan on the principle to, ‘put the patients at the heart of everything it does’. Stressed, tired, overworked doctors does not allow this. It’s not fair on the Junior Doctors’ and not fair on their patients.

Less and less young people want to become doctors, more and more medical students are dropping out, because for what they get, they’ll lose a lot more. And its killing the NHS.

We are indebted to junior doctors: either for our own health and lives, or those of relatives, friends and partners, these doctors are fundamental to keeping the NHS alive.

Doctors’ won’t want to strike, but they’re having to. They joined the profession to care for others, but without a fair contract they can’t.

 

#BursaryOrBust

In Novembers’ spending review, it was announced that the current bursary given to nurses, midwives, and other care givers in training, would be scrapped. And replaced with a loan.

The government suggested that this would mean students get an extra 25% in financial support, as well as creating an extra 10,000 training places by the end of the parliament.

But… Here’s the problem(s)

 

  1. Outside London, the average starting salary for a nurse is around £21,000, much less than the average annual salary for an employee working full time in the UK. Loans, mean debts. And with a relatively low salary anyway, it will be even more difficult to pay off their loan debt, something they wouldn’t have to worry about if they were given a bursary.
  2. Around half of a nurses’ degree course is spent on a training work placement, which is unpaid. So by replacing the bursary with a loan, the government is effectively asking for students to pay to work for the NHS.
  3. Having to spend long hours on practical placements, also means it is difficult for nurses to find other part time jobs to suppplement their finances. Whereas, many other university students are able to.
  4. There is already a shortage of qualified nurses and medical care givers’ in the UK. Scrapping bursaries is only likely to make the situation worse, as students will be deterred by the lack of financial support, and may not be able to see the gain in the future, with the weight of future debts hanging over them.
  5. Nurses and professions of the like, bear a lot more responsibility. they have a duty of care like no other job. Furthermore, the motivation to train as a nurse is unlikely to be for financial reasoning, and rather to genuinely do good and help. Isn’t that reason enough to encourage our future nurses and carers?

These reasons, amongst many more, are why people are taking to the streets today to, rightly, protest against the scrapping of the incredibly important bursaries. It’s not just a matter of importance to our future nurses but also for the future of our NHS.

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