If you want an NHS, save it yourself

It was July last year that something changed- Jeremy Hunt took to the podium and started a fight, claiming doctors had a 9-5 attitude, attacking our professionalism. But that fight was just a scuffle in a longer battle for a free at the point of access healthcare system, and it’s a battle that’s over. We lost.

This time last year I was on the street, on my own, staging a one man protest against a government dismantling the NHS and getting away with it. On my birthday a month later I organised a group protest, a Crash Call for the NHS, to raise awareness. Since then we’ve been on the streets, on your televisions, in your newspapers. The NHS is going under, we said, it isn’t safe, we said, people are dying. 

But the government spin machine is immense, and effective, and perceptions have barely changed. 

I was going to write a blog about this suspicious article in the BBC, claiming consultants are overpaid, right as consultants went back to contract negotiations of their own. I was going to point out the average overtime payment is just each consultant doing 6 hours a week more, compared with their basic salary. I was going to point out aberrant arrangements like the one in the article were locally agreed, to save struggling hospitals from huge government fines for waiting lists, despite their underfunding and understaffing. I was going to point out that huge numbers of consultant posts are unfilled, nearly 40% in medicine alone, and that unspent salary cost far outweighs the cost of any ‘overtime’ consultants earn for covering those same gaps. I was going to point out yet again how the government is spinning and dog-whistling and smearing while the NHS goes under.
But I’m not going to. I tried to write a blog full of facts and hope and fight, but I find facts are useless, my hope is gone, and the fight has left.
I wrote before how exhausted we are of all of this, but it’s only got worse and it’s about to get catastrophic

If you read this and think “well the NHS is a lazy, inefficient and rubbish health system, that should be replaced”, then good for you- it’s exactly what will happen. Just check you can afford the co-payments, or insurance premiums, or whatever comes next.
If you read this and think “this can’t happen, but what can I do?” Then think harder. 

Because whatever you do next will have to come from you. This doesn’t have to happen, but sitting at home doing nothing will definitely let it. 

If you want an NHS, save it yourself. 

My name is Dr Dominic Pimenta, GMC 7304248. 

And I quit.
Juniordoctorblog.com

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25 thoughts on “If you want an NHS, save it yourself

  1. your blog made me cry for you , the dedication and heart and soul you have clearly put into your work gone , I felt like the lights went out . How very sad . I want to say keep going don’t give up the fight , but that’s not fair on you or any other healthcare worker , you can’t do it alone . you need the public and government and neither seem to give a damn . I am so sorry for you and thank you for all the work you have done .
    Ps. I quit too a while back , I miss it ,my patients , my sense of duty , of doing some good . I don’t miss the politics poor management and total lack of support . I have thought about going back but I will work in the private sector now . now it’s about me and my family xx

    1. I understand why you’ve taken the decisions you have, but please don’t think or say that the Public don’t support the Junior Doctors or the NHS. We do, we really do, but we’re just as much victims of the system as you are/were.
      Thank you for all you’ve done within the NHS, and for all that I’m sure you will continue to do outside it. Good luck.

  2. I’m so sad to hear you’re quitting, though I’m hoping it’s not as a Doctor but only your blog, which I’ve read with interest and shared too. As disheartening as it is to fight unsuccessfully against the government, please remember that the bigger fight is for the lives of your patients. As a retired staff nurse my heart goes out to all health care workers nowadays. Over the 40 plus years I worked for the health service I watched it being undermined by successive governments, none of which heard what the people at ward level were telling them. Each have wasted money on various schemes to tell us what we already knew but they didn’t bother to ask. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your dedication. I wish you well for the future.

  3. My eldest daughter is a nurse and I know some of what you have to put up with re staffing and management, not to mention a, sometimes, ungrateful (and even violent public) The NHS cannot be allowed to die. Health care, free at source, is a must. I could recount personal stories and stories from others I know who have nothing but praise for the NHS. The very idea of a health system that depends on ability to pay is abhorrent. Please don’t give up. We are are on your side.

  4. Please don’t quit! I am part of a fight to save our local hospital and the negativity and sense of hopelessness has driven me to that point more than once… but I can’t ever quite quit altogether, because if I do then who will take the fight forward. We need voices to tell us what is actually happening and to give the view from the front line. So take a deep breath, a break for a couple of days and come back again… please.

  5. I hear you, Annie. I worked 10 years in the health system and we worked hard and were not paid much. Yet there sure were lots and lots of managers in meetings stirring…um, coffee…our health care system has gone down in the past 10 years…we are on waiting lists to get a family doctor up to 6 to 7 years. Our doctors, nurses and staff are underpaid and overworked but the public see only front line workers and they get the complaints. Good for you for speaking out!!! If I wanted to make money I would not be a social worker, I would have stayed in my previous career in corporate business.

  6. I know how you feel. I’m a nurse I share your sentiment but we have to keep fighting. Get this government out. It is possible. They can’t win!

  7. You are not alone. However much you might feel you are, you are not.
    For every idiot who believes you are all underworked & overpaid, there are many more who know that the opposite is true. For every rude, ungrateful & abusive patient, there are hundreds who thank God for you & the work you do.
    Do not let the vile tabloid lies sap your spirit & your energy. Know that there are any number of people out there who have your back.
    We want you to win this fight. We will stand with you. But you are on the inside, you do have the power to stop this nonsense. We will help, we need you to tell us what to do, how to do what you need us to do.
    But we need you also & above all to be there when we or those we love are sick. We need to know that we will not be left untreated.
    We need to know that you are not exhausted, worried sick about your own bills/debts/family.
    You need to be better paid, you need a decent working contract, you need time off. We know this. We will fight for you – just tell us what you want us to do.
    Love & prayers for you xx

  8. Everything done and sacrificed to fight this cancer is beyond value. But there comes a time when all you can do is save yourself. I am going too, after 25 years of repeated toxic awfulness from all sides, but I think you are right, the fight is lost. I live and work in a Tory haven of protected safety. This area is about as protected as it gets politically, but the tide is rising fast. I give it 18 months. The rest of the NHS will have drowned by then. I am truly sorry.

  9. Pharmacy is another profession destroyed. We expect 2500 community pharmacies to close over the next 36 months after a 6% funding cut equivalent to a 30% profitability cut.
    There is no evidence anywhere to support the idea of this improving the service although it will allow pharmacy wholesale companies to amalgamate and wipe out none multi-nationals.

    The love and care I have for my profession and patients has been crushed.
    I’m going too.
    I have opened a beautiful kitchen showroom in Yorkshire and we manufacture our own solid worktops.
    http://www.modellodesign.co.uk
    My name is Daniel and I will give a discount to all brave NHS staff who stick with it.
    I’m sorry I couldn’t.

  10. Your professional approach has been entertaining and informative. The peril of the NHS is a tragic history of “wtf’s” waiting to happen and yet everyday people seem to buy the current line fed by our government ninnies. As yet another casualty (you) gets flattened by selfish, shortsighted, money-now, politics, please accept my gratitude for your insight and prose.
    We flounder, worrying, about who can do what and all the time it is being done to us – difficult to fight/argue with decisions already made, with so much vested interest in getting insurance premiums and even more data out of the UK public. Sadly a sudden spark of mass public awareness (especially in the tory voting/supporting heartlands) is unlikey to happen until it is utterly too late.
    You have done a great thing in these posts and illuminated the devious paths of darkness surrounding govt machinations for many of us.
    Thank you.

  11. I completely relate to your experience and reasons for leaving. We want to fight but it comes at such personal expense eventually we have to choose to look after ourselves and our families. I’m a clinical psychologist and have seen mental health squeezed to the limits this past 7-10 years, it’s so sad. Burnout is at an all time high, and targets get ever more ridiculous whilst budgets are cut. I too have felt despondent at the spin being peddled by the Tory machine, the war against overworked dedicated nhs staff, all lies but believed by many, I have watched services be privatised, and AQP models and tarriffs drive services into the ground 😦 I am so sad, and so close to leaving too, because nothing seems to have an impact or change things for the better. I hope and pray we have a change of government soon before the nhs is gone, it will be soon if something isn’t done.

  12. Whatever you do dont quit. You are not one although you may think so. I too get frustrated having worked in the NHS 30 years plus but you must never quit. Its too important a cause and worth fighting for and you have done your level best and you should feel proud.

  13. Thank you for everything you have done – on the wards, the street, this blog. It has been so helpful to read your breakdown of the situation – making it clear for a lay person. You must, of course, take care of yourself. (But I am so very sad about your choice.)

  14. Utmost respect and thanks to you and your colleagues for everything you have done and have tried to do. I hope you find peace whatever you choose to do. Junior doctors everywhere should hold their heads high for their actions in courageously speaking out against the irreversible damage that has been caused by this government.

  15. You can not buy dedication,its given from the heart and soul.The jobs you all do is amazing.I lost my Mom and Brother within five months of each other,the care and dedication doctors and nurses gave to them was brilliant, I know you are not facing an easy road, but it was not an easy road when the NHS first started. Look at what Thatcher did to the miners she destroyed them. Please i know its hard but don,t let the Tories win.your all amazing people to put up with everything, but we all support you.i love you guys for the strength you all have.and the dedication you give. Don,t give up. xx

  16. Massive respect for writing this.

    Find what makes you happy, you only have one life! If you predict misery, then seize the day, find something you love doing and don’t be a martyr to the NHS.

    James.

  17. Good work keep the fight on while there is NHS, for most people, there is life, with it I just can’t imagine what will happen!! We need unity and the biggest fight to keep our NHS, even if it means to pay an extra penny in the pound now! Definitely a caring government who is equals for all not just for a few who become richer everyday!!

  18. All those people saying “please don’t quit”, I hope you, too, give up endless hours of your time to save our NHS. Because if not, you’ve got a serious amount of nerve just sitting on your butt doing nothing and expecting exhausted and demoralised NHS staff to keep fighting on your behalf when they have nothing left to give.

  19. The name of Obamacare replacement is called Trumps Republican Almost Affordable Stay of Healthcare, or Simply “TRAASH.”
    It’s too late to save the NHS. I’m an ergonomist who specializes in elderly and disabled. Well, not any more. After More TRAASH I’m done!
    I’m I’m finished thanks to the generous people who voted for Trump. Maybe you can buy a limb on the Internet. I can’t afford to be in business anymore!
    By the way the highly corrupt AMA SHOULD BE DISBANDED! They are the primary reason we are presented with High Costs and the NO CHOICE we have today! Cover your ass at the EXPENSE of the Patients, keeping them stupid is their motto. “First do no harm” what a joke! A lifetime of work turned to shit! Blame your fellow AMAers. AND if the Doctor screws up because the hospital is understaffed and they are tired? Well, it must be the patients problem for it surely isn’t theirs. It’s the AMAs version of your fault insurance! There aren’t enough words to describe my distain.
    Without a Single Payer System we’re just another top down banana republic.
    No More TRAASH!

  20. I am saddened to know that you are leaving but the pressure you are all under I can fully understand your choice. I have always been treated with care and respect on the many occasions I have had treat and operations with the NHS. I fully believe the NHS can be saved but in a different way to which it is now. I have paid in for over 50 years and I would without hesitation pay for my treatment and believe others would. Why dosnt this country start charging people from other countries before they get treatment when they have deliberately come here for free health care. If their illness is critical then obviously they have to be treated but surely some type of insurance like we have to pay when we go abroad should be expected. I truly hope you and your fellow junior doctors and all medical staff, nurses etc will one day be rewarded highly for the jobs you do, you all deserve the best and I wish you well.

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