I know what’s it’s like to go through change in the working environment, who doesn’t? So, in some ways, I actually have some sympathy with the plight of
junior doctors and their dislike of the new terms and conditions as per Mr Hunt’s widely criticised new NHS contract 7-Day-A-Week sound bite policy.
Do I agree with their strike action? No, but not for the obvious reasons.
Striking can get results except when it’s against the inevitable. Striking to prevent redundancies caused by poor business performance or new technology are doomed to failure. Striking against political whim is also doomed unless your actual aim is to dislodge the politicians in question.
If the junior doctors (I hate that term, it brings to mind images of acne scarred 20 something’s who fiddle awkwardly with their stethoscopes whilst nervously mumbling answers to Sir Lancelot Spratt in a 1960s film about trainee doctors) really want to put an end to the current government’s NHS fiddling then they should resign en masse.
1. Get the attention of the bulk of the British public. Most of whom are happy to toot their horns as the drive past protesting medical personnel but are unwilling to do anything else unless forced to.
2. Bring the NHS too a grinding halt. The media will love this. You can see the journalistic vultures circling hospital beds as the sick cry out for treatment with their dying breath. How long will Hunt last, and the rest of the government, when the front pages are plastered with those dying for want of medical treatment?
3. Lead to an indecently speedy volte-face by our government and even a bit of regime change in the hallowed corridors of Westminster.
Will people suffer? Will lives be put at risk or even lost? Yes. But that happens everyday in the NHS, strike or no strike.
(Don’t get me wrong, I think the basic concept of the NHS is a good one. I just think that it fails consistently to meet the needs of the patients due to problems with its management and staff.)
So my message to junior doctors is as follows: Your strike will not succeed in changing government policy. All of you should get together and resign. Hand in your resignation letters and start applying for work outside of the UK. Only that will bring about the change you desire.