As someone who who has had first hand experience of hospital care, on a daily basis for many weeks as a cancer patient, and also direct experience of the working and training of our doctors from medical student to consultancy level, I feel I am in more of a position to take a balanced view than most.
Jeremy Hunt states that hospital doctors should be required to provide a 24/7 service, while at the same time working fewer hours. To me, this is a complete contradiction. If he accepts that junior doctors are working excessive hours, as he appears to claim, but still expects them to cover additional weekend period, which he also appears to claim are not covered, how can this possibly be achieved until additional doctors are recruited?
It should be remembered that long before the junior doctors took their strike action, Mr Hunt clearly stated that unless they agreed to his demands he would “enforce them”. He even refused to go to arbitration until the junior doctors held their first strike. Is this really the way to treat such highly intelligent and skilled professionals, who are far more loyal to their code of ethics than any Member of Parliament or Minister? If Mr Hunt is not very careful, his actions will lead to a severe shortage of doctors.