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GPs go forth

'Striking is just something doctors should not do'

Dr Nick Summerton, a GP in East Yorkshire and a former NICE adviser, argues that junior doctors should be speaking to the Government, and not striking

We are supposed to be professionals and patient focused. This strike is so damaging to the profession and I don’t see what it will achieve.

It’s a symptom of what’s going on with the NHS at the moment - there has to come a point when junior doctors decide whether they are professionals or not.

There’s an ‘I can’t be bothered’ culture among some junior doctors - some can’t be bothered to send out letters when patients are discharged or give us calls to let us know about results or deaths.

I think it is right that patients have access to a seven-day a week health service and if junior doctors dispute this they should continue to oppose the scheme with dialogue and discussion, not a strike.

It’s causing a lot of disruption - there is certainly an issue of trust between the BMA and the department of health, yes, but striking is just something doctors should not do.

That junior doctors are willing to strike is a tragic symptom of the deprofessionalisation of the medical profession. Back when I trained, being a junior doctor was awful, you’d work days and nights and nights again but we had a dialogue, not a strike.

Dr Nick Summerton is a GP in East Yorkshire and a former NICE adviser

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Readers' comments (125)

  • Yes, back when I trained the hours were awful, the supervision variable and the risk to patients immense. Did I or others have the courage to complain?
    Not very often. Although one of my friends slept nn a hospital bed outside The London Hospital in Whitechapel.
    Well done the Junior doctors for standing up for yourselves and the NHS.
    Hunt isn't to blame. He is a small pawn in a bigger game.

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  • NS is entitled to is opinion. However, having worked 80 hour weekends wit 2-3 hours sleep or 168 hour weeks when 1:2 holiday cover, or 6 months single handed as an SHO, when the other chap left, I cannot imagine how this form of slave labour and torture was ever right.
    It was wrong then and Dr NS dialogue did not fix it. Not for me, and thousands like me.
    Exploitation is wrong now as it was then and I am concerned that for some strange reason, the Employers have no responsibility of care to it employees [ the doctors]
    Having said all this, it is the BMA who should define safety.
    Pilots do.

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  • I too totally disagree with Dr Summerton. I am sorry, but there are situations when the side with whom one is supposed to be talking is SO unreasonable, SO lacking in understanding of the real situation, SO manipulative and disrespectful, that they leave one with no option. What this government has done and is doing is destroying the NHS, destroying good patient care and destroying the people within it. I for one do not want to stand by and let the excuse of my professionalism stop me challenging such destructive forces. I support these young doctors who have the courage of their convictions. No one can doubt their compassion and their work ethic. They demonstrate that hour after hour, day after day. I salute them.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Thank you Nick, for your opinion and presence , which is the exactly why western democracy is so invaluable in this world:

    ''But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression.''
    John Locke

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  • it's perfectly ok that some doctors don't agree with striking, it's ok that some doctors are happy to accept whatever they are told to do, it's ok that some doctors will literally bend over if asked to do so. Those drs don't speak for me. I want a fair terms and conditions. If the state/public don't want to pay for my professional advice - I will go elsewhere. We live in one of the richest countries in the world - it is simply priorities. The public can not have a gold plated service for free. Either properly fund the NHS or let us go (those that want to go). simple. Those that want to stay - by all means stay and do what you feel is right but do not bully or emotionally blackmail those that want to take action. You are just scared that you will have to deal with demand on your own but that is your choice. I find it hypocritical that 'drs' who don't do front line work have been vocal condemning the strike eg Sarah Wollaston. if they really cared they should roll up their sleeves and try front line work - we are short of doctors after all.

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  • My thoughts about this awful article are unprintable and display absolute ignorance
    To quote the unacceptable working practices of the past that I also worked in is totally irrelevant and did lead in fact to strike action and is Neanderthal reactionism
    I believe in progress for the sake of patient and dr health
    Runts plans introduced by the lowest deviousness lies and stupidity MUST be opposed
    What a stab in the back

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  • Seb P

    Well done Dr Summerton, you got your name in lights.

    Unless you are working 7 days yourself, you need to apologise for your outdated and frankly pathetic attempt to smear junior doctors. If you had bothered to pay any attention whatsoever over the past THREE YEARS you would realise that junior doctors have been trying to engage the government in negotiation, only to have it fall on deaf ears.

    I hope that your practice does not train any juniors, and I'd urge any in East Yorkshire to ensure your Deanery is aware of this clearly unsupportive practice.

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  • I agree completely with the junior doctors decision to strike. Good on them for standing up for their working conditions!

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  • Clearly Dr Summerton feels he knows better than 98% of the junior doctors who voted. It is about time that HMG listened to the people who provide care- Doctors , Nurses and other care givers rather than government spin doctors

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  • I strongly suspect that you work directly for Jeremy Hunt's disgraceful team of liars, intent on throwing our beloved NHS down the drain.

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