Press Release: The Deeper Shadow of the Doctors’ Strike

[Thursday 7 January 2016]

Doctors for the NHS supports the juniors in anything they do to keep our patients safe and the NHS from being broken apart. DFNHS sees a clear danger in the public not seeing beyond the inevitable inconvenience any strike must bring. The context is vital, and the government will be doing all it can to turn the minds of the public from it.

Doctors for the NHS, which has been campaigning against the privatization of the NHS since the 1970s (then as the NHS Consultants’ Association), sounds a note of caution over the forthcoming strike action, in pointing out salient facts that the government would prefer were glossed over if any action goes ahead.

Dr Eric Watts is Doctors for the NHS’s Chair and a consultant haematologist:

“The NHS has to work to the highest possible standards; everyone is agreed on that. So a career in the NHS means developing doctors’ talents and abilities to the full. This means a career in training which gives them learning experience with adequate time for professional growth – a reflective process with senior support and not being exploited. By imposing this contract on the juniors, Hunt threatens that vital need. That is what is at stake. Not some vague, Holy Grail of ’24-hour service’, which this is not about at all.”

His views were echoed by Dr Peter Fisher, Doctors for the NHS’s President and a retired consultant:

“We think it is important to remember that the junior doctors, and the consultants supporting them and covering their absence to maintain patient safety, are in a far better position to understand the effects of the proposed contract than someone in Whitehall. That the instigator of the dispute was Hunt, by threatening to impose a new contract which had not been agreed. And that he has never explained how this contract would improve services but appears to be imposing it and provoking a damaging dispute in pursuit of an ill-thought through and undefined manifesto promise of a ‘7 day service’ – which the NHS already provides for emergency cases and always has.”


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