Junior doctors must win against Jeremy Hunt or we all lose

23_november_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,264

Monday 23 November 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It is typical of Jeremy Hunt (rhyming slang) to take to the Sunday Mail to see what moral outrage he can stir up over the junior doctors almost unanimous decision to strike. Judging by the comments the number of morally outraged intellectual zombies, the preferred readership of that neo-Fascist rag, is falling.

Hunt has no moral high ground from which to argue so he chooses fear mongering instead, warning that patients will be put at risk and some might die when junior doctors strike. Hunt is not of a calibre to get away with increasing the precariousness of doctors hours whilst reducing pay or to plausibly deny he is privatising our NHS. He co-wrote the book, ‘Direct Democracy’, which states, ‘Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain’ and ‘We should fund patients, either through the tax system or by way of universal insurance, to purchase health care from the provider of their choice’. In other words a privatised NHS funded by USA style insurance schemes. For him to hit back at Dr Anna Warrington, a member of the junior doctors protest organising committee, who accused him of plotting to privatise the NHS, with, ‘What utter nonsense’, is emptier than a zombies thought process and your promise of ‘no top down reorganisation of the NHS’.

It was Andrew Lansley who removed the ‘secretary of state’s core duty to provide or secure a comprehensive health service, a duty repealed by the first clause of the Health and Social Care Act’, thus opening the door to privatisation. If you remove the governments duty or obligation to provide universal health care, where is it going to come from it not the private sector? Charities? Back street doctors? Heggerty Haggerty?

One of the core aims of neoliberalism is to increase precariousness in the work place which you and your government have pursued relentlessly. Those of us old enough to remember can look back to the days when a job might last for life, with the dubious reward of a gold watch on retirement after 30 or 40 years service, and when a single pay packet might keep an entire family. Such days are long gone, today zero hours contracts are proliferating and self employment is at its highest level since records began 40 years ago because of the imposed fragility of the labour market. Iain Duncan Smith has even managed to break the age old contract of work for pay, introducing forced labour (Workfare) for benefits which are far below the minimum wage and woefully inadequate to provide for all the demands placed upon those afflicted by his heinous policies.

Hunt’s attack on junior doctors is just the latest in the undermining of the work force and working conditions. Hunt cares as little for doctors as he cares for patients and even less for universal health care. He must be beaten now because if he is not the next attack will be worse, junior doctors have patient care in front and Hunt’s knife at their back, adding to the already considerable pressures they are under and making their lives ever more precarious. Junior doctors must win this or we all lose which will ultimately mean the NHS as we know it.










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