Press Release: The Juniors Need to Carry on Calmly

[6 July]

The continued failure to resolve the junior doctors’ dispute is bad news for the NHS. The fact that the majority of junior doctors feel unable to accept the new terms is further proof of the folly of the government trying to link their contracts with an uncosted and ill thought through commitment to a ‘7 day service’. But there is a need for caution, and the doctors should only strike again as a last resort.

Dr Peter Trewby is Treasurer of Doctors for the NHS and a retired hospital consultant:

“We deplore the fact that the Department of Health now appear to have completely lost the trust of the junior doctors and ask how they intend to restore that trust without which further negotiations will be futile. We deplore the negative effect this dispute has had on doctors’ morale which is already hit hard by cuts, increasing bureaucracy, endless inspections and the threat of mergers and closures.

 “We urge the Department of Health to move away from their insistence on ‘7 day working’ which we know is based on spurious statistics, and even if it were not would be unachievable without a major injection of funding. There is already round the clock working for emergencies. The government has not defined what it means by ‘7 day working’ its statistics on increased mortality out-of-hours are fatally flawed.

“For the good of the NHS and the patients they serve, we encourage the juniors to engage in adult dialogue rather than withdraw their labour which will only harm their reputation, harm patients and lower their esteem in the eyes of the public, so playing directly into the hands of the government.


Dr Eric Watts, Chair of Doctors for the NHS and consultant haematologist:

“This dispute could easily be twisted to appear to be an issue of junior doctors’ wages; it is not. Juniors are committed to realistic working hours giving them time to learn whilst delivering the service. No attempt should be made to impose this new contract. The existing one should continue, to allow a cooling off period and the appointment of a new Secretary of State for Health.”




Editor’s Notes

Doctors for the NHS (DFNHS) was formed in March 2015 by the NHS Consultants’ Association re-naming itself and asking GPs and medical trainees to join. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] of the NHS by gathering the already impressive evidence (eg, on health funding – see OECD figures below); pointing to its ill effects on NHS services and founding principles; and campaigning widely to stop then repair the damage before it is too late and cannot be reversed.

DFNHS’s press officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]


Facebook: DoctorsForTheNHS


OECD expenditure figures

These figures give the lie to the arguments that we can’t afford a publicly funded NHS as other countries spend more public money on health services than we do.

We are 15th overall in total spend and 13th in public spending USA and 11 European countries spend more

[1] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.

Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin

Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press

Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.

Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.


[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models

[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.

Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R.

Comments are closed.