I WAS on the junior doctors’ picket line, asking them why they were on strike.
I started in the NHS in 1956 and after 15 years of study and training in many teaching hospitals, and taking numerous difficult exams, I became a consultant surgeon. This is still the way doctors are trained.
On talking to the doctors on strike, I soon learned that they were very dissatisfied with their present contract. They said that the training is very poor; the shift system is demoralising and that consultants do not run proper ward rounds any more.
To say that there are more deaths of patients admitted at the weekend is due to lack of medical cover is an insult and demoralising to junior doctors. Junior doctors cover the hospitals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a rota basis.
The “old firm” system should be re-instated whereby a consultant has a team of senior registrars and registrar. Their patients must be close together on one ward, and not scattered throughout the hospital.
Emergency surgery is much more easily arranged at weekends because most operating theatres are available then. Routine work must not be done at weekends.
The BMA is a union; a union’s raison d’etre is to fight for more pay for less work from the workforce they represent.
It should not be involved in developing a new contract for doctors. Unions, on the whole, have a very good reputation for destroying industries and unfortunately now for the medical profession.
First of all most hospital managers must be reduced in number; most are completely irrelevant and their salaries far too high. The hospital trusts are running the NHS into the ground. All hospitals employ a highly trained workforce in their doctors and nurses. They know how to do their jobs, they do not need managers to show them what to do and how to do it.
We now have the grotesque statement of calling people like my wife and I “bed blockers” because there aren’t sufficient beds in the NHS or in the community. Most serious illnesses occur in people over 65.
Many of the closed wards in hospitals must be reopened so that patients in A&E can again be transferred to the appropriate wards for treatment or surgery (not to an admissions ward). A&E is where the initial diagnosis is made. From there, the patient should be transferred to the appropriate ward for treatment by the medical or surgical team on call.