A Healthy Blog

On health, politics and labour. Junior Doctor in the NHS.

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Folk with the faith

Today saw the second day of strike action where all Junior Doctors have withdrawn their labour. Turnout is an estimated 78%. Consider that approximately 80% of Junior Doctors are BMA members and that doctors on maternity leave, sick leave and those working nights won’t be included. This is an incredible turnout.


By all accounts turnout at picket lines was as strong as yesterday, if not stronger. Junior doctors are growing in confidence, our placards are improving and we are getting better at picketing effectively.

Public support remains incredible and more blame the government for this dispute than they did in January. We have also seen the full support of Senior Clinicians and the rest of the health service as they have done an incredible job of keeping our hospitals safe over the last two days.


Junior doctors have shown incredible faith in their colleagues to take unprecedented...

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Following on from my post where I explained one of the reasons why Junior Doctors are so concerned about the safety of the new Junior Doctors contract this post will look at why Junior Doctors are so upset about the unfairness of the contract which will be imposed upon us from August 2016.

The current anger being expressed and headlines generated around fairness comes from the Department of Health’s companion documents to the new contract, an Equality Assessment and a Family Test. These can be read here.

The tone and language of these documents have angered a large proportion of the medical profession, not just Junior Doctors. We have seen responses from the Presidents of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons

We are very concerned by the language in the government’s own equality analysis of the contract, which warns that features of the new contract ‘impact...

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Yesterday NHS employers released the full contract they plan to start imposing on all junior doctors from August 2016. You can read the full terms and conditions here: http://tinyurl.com/j6ce84u

This contract needs context to explain why junior doctors and those who design our rotas are throwing their hands up in despair.

Firstly, it is important to understand that many hospitals already don’t have enough Junior Doctors. This is particularly true in certain areas, such as the North East of England, and particular specialities, such as General Practice.

GP Training Recruitment Rates by Area 2014-2015

Trainees rotate through different specialities during their training, as service provision. This is particularly important in Accident and Emergency and on medical inpatient hospital wards. Where there is a gap, either the hospital can attempt to find a locum (agency) worker, or they...

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Fighting Imposition

The government announcement of Imposition of the ‘Dalton Contract’ is a clear escalation in its strategy to fundamentally reshape the NHS. It is clear that this contract is unacceptable to Junior Doctors and therefore we as the Junior Doctors’ Committee (JDC) must fight its imposition. But the JDC does not exist in isolation, as part of the wider BMA and on behalf of health workers generally we must make the fight against contract imposition the centre of our campaign.

The government has escalated this dispute to a point which is unacceptable, is forcing doctors to flee the country and will have a lasting impact on the structure and function of the NHS. We have therefore been left with no choice but to match their escalation with a show of force to mitigate as much as possible the long term impacts of this strategy from the Department of Health and Conservative Government.

This must...

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The Internal Market

One of the great things about Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory is that it is exposing a whole host of people to new ideas shaped by the left. Most of these are new activists. But it includes a layer of younger people who’s experience of the labour party is New Labour heavy.

Over the coming months there is an unprecedented opportunity to discuss and debate ideas with all kinds of people. This led to a friend of mine who had been talking to some younger labour activists asking me about the internal market in the NHS. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to lay out the basics of a debate that is probably going to come to the fore at some point soon within the Labour Party.

What is the internal market?

For the last 30 years there has been a process of increased ‘marketisation’ of our National Health Service. This process has mainly been undertaken under internal market...

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NHS Campaigning - Practical Tips

You’ve seen a few stories about the NHS in the news? You’ve watched Sell Off? You’ve read a few articles on [Open Democracy] (www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs)?

Now you want to do something. The NHS isn’t going to save itself. The question is what? Its not an easy one to answer. The following post is aimed at provoking some discussion about areas you could look at.


The Health and Social Care Act (2012) looms large over everything NHS related. Any attempt to save and improve our National Health Service will require this damaging legislation to be scrapped and replaced with something fit for purpose.

Written by Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderic the NHS Reinstatement Bill (2015) attempts to correct the errors of not just the Health and Social Care Act but the last 30 years of marketisation within the NHS.

The Reinstatement Bill has been supported by a coalition of Green Party...

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Why cake and candles won’t save our NHS. A critique of NHS birthday celebrations.

Last Saturday was celebrated by many as the 66th Birthday of the NHS. Introduced in 1948 the National Health Service made health services affordable for many, particularly women and children, for the first time.

However, it is two years since the coalition government introduced the Health and Social Care Act (2012). Which changed the NHS in England to such a point it would be unrecognisable to those who introduced the NHS in 1948.

The original NHS did two particularly revolutionary things. Firstly, it collectivised the health risk of the nation. Health care costs are often beyond the means of the individual. But not everyone gets sick. The NHS was the first system in the world which put need before ability to pay. Paid for through general taxation, everyone would contribute and everyone would be able to receive the benefits.

Secondly, it removed the profit motive from care. Because...

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Speech at Newham Save Our Services - March and Rally - 05/07/2014

My name is Peter Campbell. I am a doctor, a socialist and proud supporter of the Save Our Surgeries Campaign. I believe one of the most impressive things that Save Our Surgeries has been able to accomplish is how it has brought together healthcare workers and patients to fight together for the same cause.

Because the media and the government are trying to put a wedge between healthcare workers and patients. Every day we see negative news stories about the NHS, even some about patients. Often these are about patients using the service inappropriately. That doesn’t sound like giving patients choice to me.

It is so important that we stand together, because long after this government with its reforms and its cuts is gone. We will still need to be working together for the health of the nation. It is fantastic to see Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney leading the way.

I’ve only been a...

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