In a last ditch attempt to avert any more strike action and to get Junior doctors to accept the government’s new deal the Conservatives have enlisted military scientists to re-animate the corpse of Mother Theresa and installed her as the new Health Secretary in place of a weary Jeremy Hunt. As the she left the BMA headquarters following failed talks she was spat at by a protestor and called, “Tory Scum!”
Seriously, who could the Tories get to sell their 7 Day NHS plans to the medical profession? At the moment Jeremy Hunt could offer every doctor a trillion dollars an hour, a Caribbean island and a year’s supply of Ferrero Rocher and they would still say no. The BMA branded the government’s most recent offer as nothing but a political manoeuvre but surely the blind opposition they display to pretty much anything the Health Secretary has to say is just as political. The fact of the matter is health professionals will never be happy until the Health Secretary is no longer a Conservative. The BMA is now little more than another Labour pressure group and like any trade union is advancing the cause of its members at the expense of those they are there to serve. Do you think they’d have pulled the same stunt on Andy Burnham?
They complain it is both a case of taking a pay cut and losing further time with their families but these arguments are obviously contradictory. If it’s about the money then they should be happy with the raise in basic pay (It is clear to anybody with a GCSE in Maths that the vast majority of doctors will actually see their salary rise), if it’s about the work life balance they should welcome the fact that working the most unsociable hours has been dis-incentivized. They complain about having normal working hours extended yet point out they all work these hours anyway.
The medical profession, like the police, is another group that the Blair/Brown client state has completely prised away from the Tories. Time was when a good proportion of doctors, as high earning professionals, were sympathetic to a range of Conservative policies. Despite taking a pay cheque from the state they still wanted a strong economy to protect their investments and underpin their savings.
However, they have fallen victim to the Labour propaganda on the NHS – that the Tories only want to destroy it, whipping up fear of a non-existent privatisation bogeyman. The Left seems to have a caricature in their mind, a grotesque Steve Bell cartoon of David Cameron sitting in some gothic castle cackling demonically, salivating at the prospect of selling off the NHS to his posh chums as he gorges on caviar, Foie Gras and roast, suckling asylum seeker.
It is entirely plausible that within a generation all those paid out of the public purse, even in previously ‘Right Wing’ fields, will be duped into thinking only the Labour party will support them as it is the only party prepared to invest in public services, no matter how close it pushes us towards economic oblivion. Plebgate illustrated how far the police have shifted left and Jeremy Corbyn has used a soldier’s family as an example at PMQs – it seems unthinkable but could Tories soon be in a minority in the armed forces?
Witnessing the Mid Staffs disaster first-hand I saw the heartbreaking reality of our so-called 7 day NHS. Weekend wards of despair and loneliness where nurses were like ghosts that vanished into the shadows and nights spent praying that my Nan would make it through safely to the morning. I witnessed the brutal fallibility and human capacity for error that we foolishly refuse to accept is part of a doctor’s DNA.
We perceive doctors to be untouchable, super humans imbued with selfless altruism and faultless judgment. As a result we are only too willing to make no end of concessions. Doctors are special, we all accept that they should be well paid and Hunt’s offer protects this, but they are also human and the sooner we accept that the sooner we can finally have an NHS that is there to serve the needs of its patients and not the needs of its staff.
The BMA can argue all day about who stood in the way of a negotiated settlement but the truth is they have shown nothing but disdain for the government’s 7 Day NHS plan, they have put forward no alternatives and have displayed a complete lack of flexibility in a Post-Francis NHS when change is essential. Their blanket opposition to any changes in working practices would make 1986 Wapping Pickets blush. The BMA’s intransigence is all the more disgusting when you consider that the commitment to a 7 Day NHS was a cornerstone of the Conservative manifesto which was endorsed by the public in a free election.
The junior doctors strike is no different to miners striking in the 70s and 80s – a politically motivated action intended to undermine, or even overthrow, a democratically elected government. Don’t be fooled by their pleasant home counties accents and Berghaus gilets, striking junior doctors are just as much of a threat to democracy as any khaki-clad anarchist. They possess a credibility that masked May Day vandals can only dream of and this makes them more dangerous to the government than the entire shadow cabinet.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty