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The Junior Doctor’s Last Stand, We Just Need to Identify Custer

The Junior Doctor’s Last Stand, We Just Need To Identify Custer

As we start the first full walk out of doctors from Accident and Emergency, the BMA have said, “any Patient deaths are not the fault of the doctors.” Seriously?  No court in the land would tolerate a thief or murderer blaming their actions on someone else when they alone are responsible.  How can we get to a place where it is okay to take industrial action that will result in other people dying? Does this mean aircraft mechanics can fail to repair aircraft properly causing an airliner to crash and get away with it because they are in the midst of industrial action?  Why  do doctors think they hold such a special place in our lives that they are allowed to kill us to better their working conditions?  It’s clear patients in need of care will die, or the BMA wouldn’t have taken time out of their day to flag the possibility and blame someone else.

Is that the right way for a society in the 21st century to act? Tolerate, and excuse what is effectively the murder of other people so that a group can get paid more money and not be bothered on the weekend? Let’s not forget that the unions have rejected out of hand, seven days a week healthcare, which is the standard across the rest of the world, and that refusal to cover patients already means people die so doctors can have a better work-life balance.

Let’s examine the message on the sign held by the doctor in the photo above, “seven-day service for five-day money”.  He is making the government’s case.  They are admitting that they only provide a five-day service and that they want money to extend their services to 7 days a week.  Interestingly that statement does not add up, as the sign also says. Any shift to a seven-day health system means that there will be a decrease in demand during the week.  That translates into actual savings for the health service, and in real terms, a decrease in doctors hours as patients are seen promptly and the complexity of the patient condition is reduced, meaning they require less care and time with a doctor.  Unfortunately, it does mean that those who die because the doctor is not working weekends will increase the workload to some extent.

The BMA assertion that doctors are not responsible for any patient deaths tries unsuccessfully to ignore the fact; only doctors can treat patients. If they don’t like that aspect of their chosen profession and let’s remember, they were not thrust into medical school under duress, they shouldn’t have joined up. With the job of the doctor comes privilege and status and very good pay and conditions, the flip side of that coin contains, duty to the patient and the underlying principle of medicine; do no harm.  Today’s action by junior doctors does significant harm to the patients doctors hold up as a reason for not embracing 21st-century healthcare. Instead, they use the excuse and not the practice of patient safety to support their greed and sloth. If someone other than an NHS Junior Doctor put patient’s lives at risk, let’s say a private sector provider of health, do we believe that Unite and the BMA unions would come out in support of their fight? Claim that the death of patients was in the hands of politicians and not the fault of the private company? I’m going to take a real flyer here and say no.

Patients will die as a result of junior doctors strike action today and for months and years to come. There may be a few patients who are killed today and those deaths are likely to make the headlines. The papers can point to them as victims of the strike, and like the hundreds of Mid Staffordshire Hospital deaths, they will most likely be forgotten by the next news cycle. Unfortunately, the real suffering will happen away from media scrutiny as patients who needed to see a doctor can’t, resulting in their disease worsening or their operation is once again postponed. Some will not recover because it took too long to treat them. Others will die from their condition before they can get the care they need.

Anyone reading this remember a time when the NHS wasn’t being reformed? For that matter, remember a time when Unite and the BMA weren’t out in the streets telling us how bad it will be if the government is allowed to proceed?  Ever heard  anyone from the healthcare unions agreeing that our failing service needed change and said they would look objectively at a proposal for that change?  Put forward a solution other than “give us more money”?  I can’t remember Unite or the BMA explaining why the thousands of unnecessary deaths in the NHS were because a politician came into a hospital and murdered a patient. Anyone?  We allow the NHS self-interest to fill the debate with unfactual superlatives like “the NHS is the best in the world.” The facts are that the health service is stumbling, almost falling over. It’s not because of David Cameron or Jeremy Hunt; it’s down to all those in the service itself and the decades of successful resistance to the modernisation of the service. Cameron and Hunt are just the next generation of politician who tried to make a difference, they can’t walk into a hospital and treat patients. We are at an unfortunate place where the NHS has become a political football and the government didn’t start the game. The Government is guilty of perpetuating and allowing the vested interests in the NHS to play on unchallenged.  They should just pick up the ball and have an honest discussion.

For the Cameron government, this is their miner’s strike. During that strike, Thatcher’s government was correct and the miners wrong; the coal industry was fit for purpose in the early part of the century, but by the 1980’s it was not. The world had moved on except for Scargill and his union, and they had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to a place that reflected reality. The NHS of today is no different, but where the miners lost their livelihoods, the stakes are much higher for patients, we could potentially lose our life. Every health service in Europe has moved to a model of public and private providers working side-by-side with services available seven days a week within a payment framework based on direct financial patient contribution. As if to prove a point, all Western European health delivery models perform better than the NHS. That’s not spin, it is reported widely and is based on empirical data from well respected external organisations that have no reason to take sides.

How much longer are we prepared to live this lie? Accept spin as fact, ignore the suffering and death at the hands of those who are supposed to prevent it? The NHS is failing. It is itself in intensive care and may not be worth saving. Interestingly, unlike the patients they are supposed to serve, doctors will turn a blind eye to people’s suffering and death to try and save a damaged brand.  Like the alcoholic who needs a new liver, it would be foolish to prolong the life of someone who neither deserves it and does not appreciate the gift of a new organ. A cynic might argue that the doctors strike are a good thing. It will ensure that the NHS’s decline accelerates, and instead of a slow death spiral its demise comes sooner than later.

The BMA stance is clearly one that diminishes the value of human life, uses it’s members sacred relationship with their patients as fuel for an increasingly damaging fire. When the acrid smoke finally clears from this final stand aginst government change designed to benefit the patient and not the doctor, the BMA will be seen standing over the body of the NHS and countless patients, smouldering match and smoking gun in hand. Unfortunately for the doctors, there won’t be a politician in sight.

The post The Junior Doctor’s Last Stand, We Just Need to Identify Custer appeared first on Ken Anderson Blog.

This post first appeared on Ken Anderson Blog | Observations On Our Changing World, please read the originial post: here

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The Junior Doctor’s Last Stand, We Just Need to Identify Custer


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