NHS

There has been talk of underfunding and recruitment problems in the NHS for a long time. But changes currently being implemented could make matters a whole lot worse, and could open the NHS up to privatisation on a scale not seen before. 

 

NHS for Sale?

There has been talk of underfunding and recruitment problems in the NHS for a long time. But changes currently being implemented could make matters a whole lot worse, and could... Read more

 

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Hospital Closures in Derbyshire - Consultation a Farce!

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#Watch our You Tube Video

#Vote Labour

#Bakewell #Derbyshire

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL72IWNAlyU

 

Save Newholme Hospital - Protest in Bakewell

#Watch our You Tube Video #Vote Labour #Bakewell #Derbyshire   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL72IWNAlyU   Read more

 

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Stand up for a fully funded, publicly owned, NHS & social care service - no cuts, no closures, no privatisation & end the pay restraint for NHS staff

NHS Rally in London - National Demonstration

    Stand up for a fully funded, publicly owned, NHS & social care service - no cuts, no closures, no privatisation & end the pay restraint for NHS staff Read more

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Members turned out on a cold grey Saturday in Matlock and Wirksworth to stand at stalls, campaign and hand out imformation about privatisation of the NHS on Saturday 21 January. 

NHS campaign day

Members turned out on a cold grey Saturday in Matlock and Wirksworth to stand at stalls, campaign and hand out imformation about privatisation of the NHS on Saturday 21 January. ... Read more

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Matlock was the centre of protest in support of our public services again recently, this time with the NHS the focus. 

Matlock's Save Our NHS Rally

  Matlock was the centre of protest in support of our public services again recently, this time with the NHS the focus.  Read more

About a couple of weeks ago I put together a blog with the above title. The intention when I wrote it was to highlight the differences between the way the media portrays strikes and the reality of what the issues actually are in a dispute.

The Junior Doctor’s strike seemed a good example as it appeared to me that the bulk of what had gone into the public domain was the amount of disruption it would cause, that it had “something to do with a 7 day a week NHS” and that Jeremy Hunt reckoned that the Doctors should not be striking as 15 out of 16 points of disagreement had been resolved.

With a view to providing a more detailed and accurate analysis of the strike I contacted the British Medical Association (BMA) who immediately sent me a ten page briefing outlining their position and including a 3 column chart which set out the key points of the dispute, the position on these points between the two sides when they went to ACAS in November, the position following a revised offer in January and the stance currently taken by the BMA.

Key elements of disagreement were:

a)    The BMA was concerned about pay and conditions and work scheduling and was looking for “a set of safe limits on junior doctors' working hours to ensure that patients are not treated by tired, overworked doctors“. In particular the BMA wanted work scheduling to include annual leave and study leave and a proper mechanism for “exception reporting” and “work reviews“ whereby regular breaches of an agreed schedule would lead to reporting to a Guardian and possible reviews of working hours.

b)   The “Guardian” referred to would be an individual appointed to be responsible for ensuring safe working practices. A key point here is that the BMA stated that they had understood that it had been agreed in the Acas talks that the appointment of a Guardian would be made jointly by the relevant local NHS Trust and the BMA .When the final written offer was made in January, however, the situation appeared to have changed and the proposal was that a Guardian would be imposed by NHS England.

c)   There was also a significant disagreement about what constituted a “Night Shift. “and issues on training, proper time off and gender disparity on pay.

d)   Finally there was an outstanding disagreement about whether Saturday working should attract overtime pay.

So I duly wrote my article, pointing out that clearly Jeremy Hunt’s statement that 15 out of 16 matters had been resolved was nonsense but also taking the view that, having had some experience of negotiations myself in the past, I felt that this was a dispute that would be resolved amicably in the fullness of time.

THEN I SWITCHED ON THE NEWS AT THE WEEKEND!

My confidence in an eventual mutually acceptable resolution lay in the fact that the BMA information indicated many areas in which agreement had been achieved (e.g. the maximum number of consecutive night shifts, a maximum 48 hour week etc etc). I therefore contacted the BMA again this week to check that the Saturday working issue was the sole sticking point as the Government was saying. The BMA reply said there were also a few “finer points” unresolved but essentially the sticking point was indeed the Saturday working issue. This presumably means that the other matters have reached some kind of resolution since January and that the question “what’s going on?” now takes on an entirely different meaning.

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For me the first rule of negotiating is that you keep going if some progress is being made and it is difficult therefore not to conclude that Jeremy Hunt has taken leave of his senses. Either that or, as the BMA suggest in their current press release,there is a wider political agenda and perhaps the Tories want to provoke an escalation.

In essence it would seem to me that the BMA is not by any means implacably opposed to a 7 day NHS but wants to make sure that, in the process, Junior Doctors (already in many people’s eyes overstretched in terms of both numbers and hours) are not railroaded into a deal which places impossible conditions upon them. The issue of Saturday overtime pay might well, I appreciate, provoke different responses from different people (when I worked in the private sector Saturday working was normal, in the public and voluntary sectors it was not) but it must be seen in the context of the BMA doing its job in attempting to secure a fair deal for its members. Or as they put it in the press release;

Junior doctors already work around the clock, seven days a week and they do so under their existing contract. If the Government want more seven-day services then, quite simply, it needs more doctors, nurses and diagnostic staff, and the extra investment needed to deliver it. Rather than addressing these issues, the Health Secretary is ploughing ahead with proposals that are fundamentally unfair.

Junior Doctors’ Dispute-What is Actually Going On?

About a couple of weeks ago I put together a blog with the above title. The intention when I wrote it was to highlight the differences between the way the... Read more

 

 

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 (Junior Doctors' flashmob in Westminster - watch the whole video on YouTube)

As a retired GP I am very concerned about the privatisation and dismantling of the NHS that is now taking place. The responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health for a comprehensive health service has been removed and rationing of those services that remain “free” will accelerate. The most effective way of protecting and improving our NHS is to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill. It was introduced to the House of Commons earlier this year by Caroline Lucas, with cross-party support of MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. It has the support of BMA and the many campaigning groups for the NHS.

 

The main points are that it would restore government responsibility for a comprehensive health service and, crucially, abolish the internal market introduced by Thatcher in 1990, and thereby remove privatisation. I believe it is now vital to ensure that support for the NHS Reinstatement Bill becomes the official Labour Party policy. It is a straightforward, easy to understand rebuttal of what the government is doing to the NHS and will be popular with the public if simply and repeatedly presented. The Labour Party needs to campaign for this as a clear alternative to the damaging fragmentation, costs and lack of accountability that privatisation is causing. In addition to the many benefits of this Bill it would drastically reduce the administrative costs of a marketised health service and make this money available where it is needed.

You can find more detail about this on the website of one of its co-authors, Professor Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health Research and Policy, at this link:

Labour's policy on the NHS should be to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill

     (Junior Doctors' flashmob in Westminster - watch the whole video on YouTube) As a retired GP I am very concerned about the privatisation and dismantling of the NHS...

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