The Junior Doctors are on strike, for the first time in history the National Health Service has a withdrawal of emergency services by Junior Doctors for 2 days, following the Government refusal to negotiate. Not about money, but about creating impossible conditions that would put patients at risk, and doctors at risk of carrying out unsafe practices. A cross party last minute proposal which would have allowed the Health Secretary to save face (introduction of his contract as a pilot followed by an evaluation) was rejected outright. The intention could not be clearer.
Other doctors are covering for their colleagues because they fully support their actions, as this is about the very existence of the world famous and affordable National Health Service. So famous and cost-effective that it cannot be allowed to exist, it’s a bad example, others may want to imitate it, and that’s not good for the private Health insurance and corporations behind the British Government strategy.
The old strategy of destroying public services in order to make their privatisation not just desirable but also urgent in the eyes of the public, denounced by Noam Chomsky and so many others, is being used full blast in this case. The NHS is starved of funds, so it does not work always as it should, so a decision is made to spread the junior doctors even more thinly than they are now with the excuse of a “seven days NHS” (they already work seven days a week), create impossible working conditions, make them take desperate measures and scare the population into running to get private health insurance. In tandem with withdrawing student nurses bursaries it is just another example of the determined effort to destroy the NHS.
The strategy was used by Margaret Thatcher to obliterate the miners, now they are also provoking the teachers by planning to transform all schools into academies, breaking up the educations system and facilitating more privatisation.
It’s all explained wonderfully well in Frankie Boyle insightful piece in today’s Guardian: [Health Secretary] “Jeremy Hunt doesn’t understand junior doctors. He co-wrote a book on how to dismantle the NHS” “…This is part of a conscious strategy to run the service down to a point where privatisation can be sold to the public as a way of improving things. Naturally, things won’t actually be improved; they’ll be sold to something like Virgin Health. Virgin can’t get the toilets to work on a train from Glasgow to London, so it’s time we encouraged it to branch out into something less challenging like transplant surgery.”
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn raises the same accusations: “Corbyn accuses Tories of undermining NHS so more patients go private” “…He told the conference of the Communication Workers Union in Bournemouth: “The NHS is underfunded. Every hospital has debts. Those debts are being met by selling assets and cutting back on services. I just sometimes wonder if there isn’t a deeper agenda here – to gradually reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Health Service at the same time as promoting the private medical industry.” The Guardian
Any deaths taking place during the strike will no doubt be used by the Government to blame the doctors for their strike, no matter how unrelated. The Junior Doctors and the NHS need all the support we can muster.