Wednesday 13 January 2016

' medics manning the barricades..."

This post comes from Ken Muller who posted it on Facebook

"Our Danny gives his take on the junior doctors' strike action yesterday:

So all of us medics are manning the barricades in more or less unprecedented industrial action. Doctors striking has more implications than most public services including a hugely regrettable reduced workforce to look after patients. With all the spin and unhelpful butting-in and faux-journalism from The Sun and Daily Mail, it can be difficult understand why he have been forced to take this action against Mr. Hunt and his new contract. I thought I would briefly try and elaborate what I know about the dispute a bit for any non-medic friends that might be slightly confused.

The main issue is around the removal of safeguards against even more excessive hours. Most people know that the vast vast majority of doctors work long hours, 7 days a week. Currently, hospitals have to pay Doctors back-pay for all the time they work over the legal limit, which I believe is based in the European Working Time Directive. This currently acts as a deterrent to hospitals overworking doctors. The govt would like to remove these safeguards, effectively leaving us open to being heavily overworked, leaving us tired and less able to look after our sick patients properly. Being forced to provide a lower standard of care by people like David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt is completely and utterly unacceptable to us.

The issue with pay, where Jeremy Hunt has knowingly lied to and misled the public by saying we will get an 11% pay rise, will actually see doctors see a pay cut of around 25%. This is because juniors are currently paid with a basic salary, supplemented with 'banding'. This banding is a percentage of our basic pay paid on top of that basic pay and it is paid based on how much overtime you work. All doctors work a large amount of overtime. This means basic salary is topped up with around what I think is another 25-50% for most doctors. The govt wants to remove banding in return for an increase in basic salary. This amounts to a de facto pay cut and less compensation for the heavily antisocial hours medics can work. The govt know this.

I'm sure most people understand that doctors are not motivated by money and we are not paid well for our efforts until very late in our careers. We object to being degraded by a rich, malevolent, overpaid Conservative govt like the one currently in power. They have approved massive pay increases for themselves and appeased tax-dodging financial workers and big business because they are seen as too valuable to lose overseas. What does that say about how they value us? Furthermore, if we do not take action now, which group of hardworking, high-contributing workers will be threatened next? Whether we like it or not this is a proxy battle between public service workers and the Conservatives' policy of privatisation. If we don't dig in hard now we could lose our NHS to defunding, degradation and privatisation. It's about who you trust more, NHS doctors or Conservative MPs and we need all the help we can get."