This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

'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

Rate this article  (1.46 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (125)

  • Yipeeee had a comment removed for the first time.
    Well it was a bit bellow the belt but Dr Summerton deserves everything coming his way.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • However you dress this up it's really all about more money for less/more convenient work and job security isn't it?
    Before retirement a few years ago I really loved a hardworking but satisfying career and considered it a privilege to work in our NHS, warts an' all.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Disgraceful comment from a GP and a former NICE adviser(probably explains the type of patronizing nonsense we get from NICE).
    Will be nice for you to actually be a bit more scientific by comparing the number of patients, levels of disease complications, scrutiny, regulations, complaints and demands that you had to put up with as a junior doctor (in those days) compared to what junior doctors have to deal with now. They fact that you worked like a donkey in those days does not mean doctors should work like donkeys also- that is what civilization is about, we get better. How many mistakes did you make in those days?
    This is the type of attitude that people like you put up when you compare GPs in the 70s to GPs now. It is a shame that a GP can actually write this type of article with generalizations and lacking in facts.
    If junior doctors do not bother sending out discharge letters then report them to their consultants. That is why they are so called junior doctors- they are still learning and are at various levels of their training. But that is not a reason to say that they should not strike when they are at risk of being subjected to slave labour.
    Completely disgraceful article. I am disgusted.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Yeah sure -- all the thousands of professional doctors = who chose to strike are morally wrong but this is right. "NICE" !!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated

  • You can't expect people to act like professionals when you don't treat them like that.
    No trust; paid by the hour, regulated by ex journalists and treated as skivvies

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Profession -"any ​type of ​work that ​needs ​special ​training or a ​particular ​skill, often one that is ​respected because it ​involves a high ​level of ​education". When doctors talk about a profession in the UK we start getting holier than thou and confused with vocation. Doctors usually have a vocation and belong to a profession. In reality the profession is the cartel that protects the professional - in law, in medicine, in plumbing. My experience of working as a GP in Australia was that it was considered against vocation and profession to allow consideration of resource/cost to have any influence on a clinical decision and yet we here seem to accept this as a GMC requirement. It might be helpful to dismount from the professionalism high horse and be honest. Our independence as professionals is under threat and the profession is responding with the only sanction left to us. Our vocation is to help the population of the UK and in keeping medicine as a semi-attractive profession for the next generation we might just be saving the NHS for the country. I would suggest that is our agenda and it diverges from the present political leadership.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Is it unprofessional to take the long view?
    We all know the government is changing contracts to tee it up for privatisation. This would lead to worse and more expensive care for patients. Anyone in the know will tell you this.
    Short term pain for long term gain. If this means losing public sympathy short term then who cares? Ultimately patients need doctors more than doctors need them and they will realise it in the end.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Are you sure you are only conservative with a small 'C'? Declaration of any conflicts of interest are lacking - are you a member of any particular political parties for example?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What a total Jeremy Hunt.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Political aspiration huh

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say