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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)

  • Dr Summerton your article is terrible! Also I noticed you added to the large number of comments on yourself just to restate your view, despite virtually every other doctor commenting disagreeing with your position most strongly.

    The junior docs affected the most by the proposed contract already work to cover a 7 day rota rendering your parroting of Jeremy Hunt's pet propaganda pretty flimsy.

    Dialogue should be constructive not divisive. Doctors are not here to set a perfect example of 'professionalism' to everyone while the govt. imposes a shocking change of working terms and conditions and walks off laughing at the chump....sorry 'professionals'.

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  • Striking is just something doctors should not BE FORCED TO NEED TO do

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  • Disappointing as surely we should be supporting each other as we are stronger if we stand together . Sadly as someone said the other day some GPs wear their long hours and working conditions like a badge of honour . Sadly often these people expect all of their staff and colleagues to do the same . This is neither healthy or sustainable . The work has changed beyond recognition since ' back in my day '

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  • Samuel Lewis

    What's it called if you are forced to work a non-agreed imposed contract ?

    Answer : Slavery

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  • did I miss something ? I thought the govt was refusing to talk ? In that case, your opinion is a load of nonsense as you have missed the point entirely. I support the strike, wish the rest of us had the guts.

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  • I am appalled at the whole content of this 'article' I am ashamed as I am also gp in East Yorkshire and none of the gp's I know agree with this.
    How can Dr Summerton be SO OUT OF TOUCH with grassroot gp even in his own locality?

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  • The employers are like sharks. Bleed and they wil come for more . So don't make it easy for them and strike. Ultimately they would like us to work for nothing. If there is no protest then that is what you will get .

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  • Strike, Strike, Strike.
    Next GP's.
    Then consultants.

    Lets show just what power we really can wield

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  • Britain now officially 4th largest economy.
    Doctors in top 2% of the intelligentsia.

    And we are going to take this???

    Time for reform of the civil service. Politicians merely do the bidding of that bunch of self-serving establishmentarians
    Britain not corrupt??? go and have a close look.

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  • I just wish that Pulse had a "like" button for comments - there are so many points about this piece with which I fervently agree. Well said, commentators!

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  • I disagree with this article but I also have reservations about striking. Striking is the easy way out for the Unions. I just wonder if the BMA couldn't have figured out a more intuitive method of turning the screw. I worry the whole thing has become a politicised game of football between a stubborn government and a political BMA. The junior doctors are piggy in the middle.

    I too trained in the early 90s with long hours but compared to now, the pressures are huge. I am often amazed by my GPSTs stories. It is a great sadness that the junior doctors have been led to this but I can understand it.

    I used to be a GP in the Army & often on op tours we would work long hours in horrible conditions without a break. The difference being our tour ended & we had R&R for a few weeks. I can only imagine what it must be like for the juniors trying to do the same thing for 5 odd years.

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  • Really appalling comments by the author

    At least salaried GPs should strike but there is no leadership

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  • I don't understand why Dr Summerton thinks we don't already have a 7 days service.
    Personally I've never seen a 'closed' sign on a hospital door at weekends.

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  • So when should we strike ? When the contract involves sacrifice of one's first born , Prima Nocte ,and working for nothing .

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  • Took Early Retirement

    In the immortal words, of, I think, Monty Python's Big Red Bok, "Yah! Boo! Why don't you jump into a vat of your own excrement?"

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  • I am surprised at the number of "doctors" replying anonymously. I disagree with strikes in general and this one in particular. It is against my sense of commitment to my patients to strike. Yes, I am older and recently retired GP. I am truly sorry to see some the lack of net-etiquette and angry anonymous replies. Having retired and got older I simply want my doctor, junior or senior to take care of me properly and be there if my condition needed it. But let me rely on good luck as opposed to The NHS if I have a CVA whilst they are on strike or not as they may be too tired . We are doing what the miners do, they go on strike, surely as the cream of top graduates its possible to sidestep stupid politicians? We did, for nearly 40 years.

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  • There was no dialogue at all ! Doctors just worked for a third of normal pay from Friday am to Monday pm! Everyone was young and too in awe of the bosses above to think it could change. It was that way or the high way. Let's not go back to the bad old days.

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  • I do think that an alternative screw turning would be mass non payment of GMC fees. All doctors would be on board with that. No patients harmed and clear message of where the power lies from doctors to politicians.

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  • so the day fter the junior drs strike we discover that all the GPs in North-East Hants and South-East Surrey CCG have abandonned their Surgeries for the day, leaving them to be covered by "emergency only" staff from the local OOH service and 111. All this in order to attend a presentation on the government's flagship plan for community services ; aka "VANGARD" (the first into battle ironically aka "the forlorn hope soldiers" /death or glory (but mostly death).
    how ironic; "meetings have allways been the simplest means of work avoidance" for stressed nhs workers.
    aparently more walkouts sorry meetings are planned and it has nothing atall to do with politics said one harrased looking GP on the way home at 5.00pm after the meeting , which was as usual very stimulating with lotsof bluesky thinking on a new way of delivering patient centered health care etc etc etc...

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