junior doctors strike

A link in the Brummie aggregator, in a notice from Birmingham Against the Cuts, gives notice that there will be a rally to support the junior doctors on Saturday 20th, at 2pm, outside Waterstones by the Bull Ring, because the government’s decision to impose a new contract on them will see them working longer for less and will drive down morale in the profession.

Middlesbrough consultant oncologist and National Health Action Party member Dr Clive Peedell said: “”There are real fears that Jeremy Hunt’s response to this week’s strike will be to go ahead and impose the unsafe and unfair ’24/7′ contract. The numbers of doctors leaving the service will grow as a consequence, leaving even more specialities at critical staffing levels. No Secretary of State for Health with a real concern for the people and an ability to use evidence-based policy could possibly make that choice at this point.” More on his thinking here.

Concerns that the health service is being sold off to private providers

Junior doctor Sophie Herbert, who works in A&E, said the dispute was not just about the new contract: “This is a much bigger issue which the government is intentionally hiding from the media. It’s about the privatisation of the NHS. In 2012 the Health and Social Care Act provided a legal route for the privatisation of the NHS. This has already resulted in contracts being sold off to private providers. But the majority of voters do not want the health service sold off and cherish the NHS.”

NHS Providers

Searching on the term ‘private providers’ found that the Foundation Trust Network has been renamed NHS Providers and its website now highlights its work with NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health services, relegating its support as the ‘trade body’ for the semi-autonomous foundation trusts to less prominent web pages.

NHS Providers has more than 90% of all trusts in membership, collectively accounting for £65 billion of annual expenditure and employing more than 928,000 staff. Its Chair is a medic, Dame Gill Morgan and its chief executive is Chris Hopson, a former civil servant, working for the HMRC after working at Grenada TV and a charity for young homeless people.

NHS Providers are said to be facing significant challenges on both finance and operational performance against key national standards.

A series of new hourly price caps will limit the amount of money various types of agency staff working in the NHS can earn and controls on management consultancy expenditure were expected to have an impact by the end of 2015. News of these and other problems may be seen on this government website.