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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)

  • Dear Nick,
    Has someone paid you to write such Rubbish?
    I fully support the junior doctors - I'm a GP and also did the horrendous hours you spoke of - the world is very different now from when we trained.
    You're utterly wrong - I hope everyone disregards your comments.

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  • Nick Summerton - go away.

    It is people like you that purport to be leaders or representatives of our profession that have held us back, and not allowed us to negotiate proper terms for the work we do.

    Screw you and all you stand for.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Unfortunately the reward for being a junior doc these days ie. becoming a GP or Consultant does not justify the sheer amout of work/stress/risk that you take as a junior. If we are expecting the brightest students to work like this then the end product needs to worth something. IF not, then expect more stikes/demotivation etc.

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  • Fundamentally disagree. We have sat wearing cardies on the sidelines for too long, wringing our hands. Time for action- If we really care for our patients, we'll fight for a properly funded service.

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  • I agree with the sentiments supporting the junior doctors but I can't help thinking that the problem with a strike is that it is over so quickly. Couldn't the BMA have come up with a more imaginative and ongoing form of protest that would have a cumulative effect of embarrassing the government and annoying NHS employers and managers?

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  • I have two choice words for this article and everyone who has commented so far can guess what they are. I assume the author is retiring soon otherwise lives in a different NHS world to the rest of us.

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  • I completely agree....the doctors should just bend over and lube up!

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  • Oh the nostalgia - Back when I was a lad we would never be so unprofessional as to look after our own interests - Forgetting the industrial action in 1975 that is.

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  • We got to 100 hrs a week. the manager (an ex car salesman) said we were lying about our hours. My fellow registrars marriage broke up, becausr she never saw her husband or 4 kids. mine slept in the hospital, so he could see me. i intubated a dead baby, nobody else came for 10mins, it was me and the baby, who lived. we carried each others pagers. We told each other to go home, sleep, if tears or exhaustion. strike juniors strike, this man doesnt know what the £€•% he is talking about. #malepalestale.

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  • I find it quite upsetting to read some of the overtly derogatory personal comment made here about Dr Summerton. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you disagree attack the argument, not the author.

    My own view is that the profession has to fight for the best work conditions for their own sake and for that of the patients. However, I am concerned that the BMA has become wrapped in political dogma. There has been exaggeration of the issues in dispute from both sides.

    The NHS is a political football and always will be, but my experience is that it has faced episodes of dreadful mismanagement fairly equally from both ends of the political spectrum. However the NHS being a political issue has one benefit: that it will never be dismantled (as many are claiming) - that would be utter political suicide and one thing politicians always want to do is to cling to power.

    Striking is a double edged sword. It will only take one potentially avoidable death or injury for the media to grab hold of and blame the strikers, and the profession loses public sympathy in a stroke. The risk of this happening will be huge if the 3rd 'all-out' strike goes ahead. If public sympathy is lost, then the politicians will obviously be more likely to prevail and may get away with even more.

    Be careful what you wish for.

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