Time to put  your money where your mouth is, or perhaps your heart. 

It’s been two weeks since the junior doctor body voted no to the proposed contract. The contract designed to “create a seven day NHS”, which we apparently need to address “weekend mortality”. Except none of this is true. And after a year of beating our collective heads against the all, the message is getting through.
In a Parliamentary hearing in February NHS head Charlie Massey admitted he had no clue what a ‘seven day NHS’ meant or was, and no plan to create it. He was told he was ‘flying blind’ on the issue.

This week the same hearing sat Mr Hunt down, and found what we have all known all along; Mr Hunt broke his pledge to fund the NHS and lied about it. How can there be funding for an expanded service when there isn’t funding for the normal service? When the normal service is collapsing.

And while Jeremy and the managers of he NHS haven’t bothered to study a plan they claim was important enough to force junior doctors to strike over, somebody else has. Professor Bion researched the weekend ‘effect’ and staffing and said  ‘I’m convinced seven day services cannot be achieved within current funding”.

But this isn’t news. We’ve been saying it for a year. These are the sticks Jeremy and the department of health have used to beat a whole generation of professionals- the ‘spine’ of the NHS. These are the excuses they have made to replace existing safeguards on working time with flimsy untested alternatives, to discriminate actively against women and parents in medicine, to push morale in the NHS to an all time low.

So what would a rational response be? Your contract has been rejected by the majority, your reasons for creating and pushing the contract have fallen apart, you have a new fresh start in government. You would start over right? Rebuild good will?

Sadly no. Jeremy Hunt is forcing the contract through, and not only that he is now trying to blackmail the group opposing imposition in the courts, Justice 4 Health, by demanding at the last minute £150,000 in costs.

Without this money the court case will never be heard- Jeremy will be free to impose, although he knows this is illegal, and sets a dangerous precedent for every other NHS staff group behind us.

I’m tired, just like you. I just want this to end, just like you. But I also refuse to let our profession and NHS be destroyed. This is our watch. This is our responsibility.

Some of you are doctors, some of you voted No – this is why you voted No. You want a renegotiation, or a moratorium, then imposition must be stopped. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

Donate here.

Some doctors voted Yes- you might still want this contract. You might think it’s the best we’re going to get. The yes/no divide was bitter, acrimonious, and brought out the worst in us. A year long dispute as a united profession brought out the best of us. Whether you believe the contract is acceptable or not, we must all agree imposition is wrong. Put your money where your heart is, come together again, and support this cause.

Donate here.

If we don’t fight together, we will fail before we even begin.
Juniordoctorblog.com

This is what a dying NHS looks like.

In the grand scheme of things I haven’t been a doctor long. There are consultants who qualified as doctors before my parents even met. I have however seen my fair share of patients, and working with some of the sickest groups in the hospital, I’ve seen plenty of deaths as well.

Most very unwell and terminal patients will die in similar ways. As with any large and very complex machine, there are usually predictable stages. The first signs are the subtlest and most varied-the kidneys might slow down, the peripheral vessels might close down, the brain might become forgetful or sleepy. Then slowly more parts of the whole stop working- each has a knock on effect to the next, with predictable decline. It’s possible to intervene of course- modern medicine can breathe for you, be your kidneys, even pump your heart if needs be. But sometimes we cannot fix what is wrong, and it’s not always right to do so.

Once one major organ fails, another shortly will, and then the next. Beyond this point the damage is usually irreparable. Things deteriorate slowly, until suddenly, whatever spark of life that keeps you laughing, crying, loving and moving, the spark that makes you YOU, is gone.

Why all the morbid tales you may ask?

Because for months and years the NHS has been in slow decline.

Because the end of the NHS isn’t in five or ten years time, it’s staring you in the face, right now. Today.

To the experienced eye, the signs have always been there.

First- the disease. Diagnosis is always difficult. The same pressures of increasing complexity, increasing possibility and increasing age of the population haven’t really changed. Healthcare inflation is well recognised. But the increased work load has been met by starvation, and waste. Austerity, massive reorganisation and criminally expensive private finance deals have smothered the system. Deprived of funds, the NHS began to wobble.

Subtly at first, waiting times crept up and A&E and maternities began to close. NHS finances dipped, a pay freeze hit staff, a mild winter spared us, and the NHS limped on.

But now the organs are failing. Waiting times in A&E have reached a record high, and today this happened. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust A&E, due to being unable to recruit sufficient staff in a combination of lack of retention and capped locum rates, is left with either closing their A&E or calling in the army.

Let me just reiterate that- an NHS A&E is considering calling in the army to prop up services. Calling in the army. This is what a state of emergency looks like.

This is what a dying NHS looks like.

The other organs are rapidly declining as well. Due to threatened nursing bursary cuts and immigration law, the life blood of the NHS, our nurses, are failing. We are bleeding out losing experienced staff and failing to recruit sufficient numbers to replace them.

The ‘backbone’ of the NHS, the junior doctors, is being crushed – by rota gaps, by overwhelming pressures and by rock bottom morale. Is this the time to introduce a toxic, unmodelled and unsafe contract? We are trying to hold up the service like everyone else, but we can’t do it anymore.

The NHS needs urgent intervention, we need funding and we need politicians who value the service, not butchers to carve up the carcass to private companies. 

If you don’t believe the Tories would destroy the NHS it’s time to face reality. It’s happening right now. The NHS is critically unwell, and whether it’s deliberate or not, death’s door is open.
Don’t stand by and watch it die.