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Grantham Journal Column: Don’t give doctors flak

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

As usual, whenever a strike causes widespread disruption as the junior doctors’ action does, we tend to conveniently forget that, like the tango, it takes two to make it happen.

Rightly or wrongly, and I’m on the side of the doctors on this one, the flak falls on the strikers. But more often than not, the real cause of the problem can be laid firmly at the door of those who escape the bulk of the blame - the employers. In the doctors’ case, the NHS led by my public enemy number one Jeremy Hunt.

They dream up a new contract which, in my opinion and that of many people I know, is dangerously unfair to the health and welfare of both hard-pressed junior doctors and their long-suffering patients. More so than any series of one-day responsible strikes would ever be.

In fact, if the doctors lose out and exercise their absolute final option of quitting their jobs for a better life abroad, it could end up as a complete and utter disaster for the NHS.

Double standards I would suggest as we are constantly told that losing corrupt bankers is bad, but apparently not so with regard to losing very good doctors to foreign countries - junior medics who undoubtedly will progress to becoming great consultants and surgeons for the future of our children, the very children we are told represent the main reason for the ‘reduce the deficit’ con in the first place.

My own views are quite clear, however. Before I passed my sell-by date as some readers believe I have, I was firmly in support of the majority in this country who agreed that doctors and nurses were beyond criticism as far as dedication was concerned and I still hold that opinion today.

But, then again, as far as politicians are concerned, I didn’t trust them then and I still don’t.


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