Tory ghouls are haunting our beloved National Health Service (NHS), gouging the pay and conditions of the very workers struggling to keep Britain alive.
Following the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act (2012), which introduced even more foreign objects (corporations) into the heart of the NHS, health workers have responded by rejecting its unwelcome intrusion. Such a healthy response was borne out by a survey of doctors conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA) which revealed that only 5% believed the Act had improved services for patients.
It is no secret that the Government’s pathological actions are weakening the NHS in order to better pave the way for a private insurance based healthcare system similar to that in the USA. Yet Tory rhetoric would have us believe the opposite, with no explanation for why they have just slashed £200 million from council-funded public health services.
Health staff are already worked to the bone — be they cleaners, porters, nurses or doctors. So in response, junior doctors are being “balloted on potential industrial action” in protest at the Tories ongoing attacks upon our collective wellbeing (September 29, Leicester Mercury).
Not only are our new doctors (900 of whom are based in Leicester) facing a potential “real terms pay cut of about 15 to 30 per cent,” but the proposed contract reforms also represent “a direct threat to patient safety,” as one junior doctor explained to the Mercury.
These new deathly contracts ride roughshod over the best interests of doctors, of patients and of the NHS as a whole. Hence the reason why the junior doctors’ campaign slogan is “Not Fair, Not Safe.”
Already thousands of junior doctors have marched on Downing Street, with similar protests having been staged around the country, featuring doctors defiantly chanting: “Save our contracts, save our patients, save our NHS.”
With the Labour Party beginning to backtrack on its previous lacklustre approach to supporting both protests and industrial action, Labour’s new shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has announced his Party’s absolute support for all workers who take strike action.
McDonnell explained: “If there is industrial action taking place [anywhere] then we should automatically… come alongside our brothers and sisters in the trade unions and support them.”
“My role, whether it is in parliament, or on the picket line, is to support workers in struggle,” he continued. “That is what the role of Labour MPs is going to be in the future.”
Workers in all professions should take courage from such words of resistance, and determinedly take forward the fight for democratic control and accountability of health services.
We need united action to defend the NHS. All trade unions should now begin to move in unison with junior doctors to promote industrial action which is supported by anti-cuts campaigns and service users. Only by working together will we win.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on 30th September.
The junior doctors represented by the BMA are certainly not asking the world. They simply want “concrete assurances in writing from the Government” that there will be: proper recognition of unsocial hours as premium time; no disadvantage for those working antisocial hours compared to current system; no disadvantage for those working less than full time and taking parental leave compared to the current system; pay for all work done; and proper hours safeguards protecting patients and their doctors.