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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)

  • Not NICE when the government doesn't listen or hold farcical talks and consultations.
    A person working as an Advisor should know better because our colleague seems to be hinting that nobody has tried to have a conversation with the government.
    A talk is a two way conversation between parties willing to listen and consider each others views. It's not Hamlet's monologue which Jeremy Hunt indulges in revelling at the sound of his own golden voice.

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  • You care for your patients - congratulations. Junior doctors are being sweated as an asset as though they were a piece of equipment.
    I too believe in a 7 day NHS for acute and urgent care. I do not believe there is any demand or justification for routine Sunday care we are not QVC or Amazon who don't deliver on a Sunday anyway.
    There will be 1 outcome if Jhunt has his way because there is no funding increase and all is to be done within the pay envelope the massaged statistics will change to a flattened curve but no peaks and also no troughs.
    You appear to be a supporter of constructive engagement - not always historically on the side of the Angels.

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  • Summer tone should shut up in winter!!

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  • I don't think it is professional to work in an environment where you cannot deliver a minimum standard of work. Tirdness, lack of support, understaffed.
    This is partly what the strike is about
    The other part is about pay. To continue to get high quality students and for young people to give up so much of their time, not just at work but all the studying, the pay should be good.
    If the government is allowed to continue making doctors pay and condidtions worsen then the NHS will fail in a few years anyway.
    The doctors could choose not to strike, but to just apply for work abroad, so striking is actually the more honourable thing to do in my opinion.

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  • When one has exhausted all else striking is the only thing one can do, apart from retirement and walking away.

    One of the things that we really have to understand is that one cannot expect ongoing strikes to maintain public support. If GPs eventually decide to carry out some form of industrial action we have to accept that we may not get public support. That should not stop us doing it. Public support, although nice, is not essential.

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  • What is this crap I keep hearing about public support this and public support that??? The public will either love us or hate us simply because of preconceived ideas ( rarely the correct ones ). A doctor should be like this or like that. Two fingers mate. The public will never understand our complicated profession so worrying about their support is pointless. They will back us fully when we become a very expensive commodity.

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  • Nick - I admire your balls to come back on here, in spite of the swell of opinion against you. And I think everyone is entitled to their own views about the right to strike or not.

    But you didn't just do that. You used examples of poor discharge summaries as "couldn't be bothered" and questioned their professionalism. There is no evidence of these views and that is why there has been such strength of feeling against you.

    My husband called you the "Katie Hopkins" of general practice and I feel he is right.

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  • I think there should be a 7 day GP service in East Yorkshire and I'm entitled to my opinion.

    Why don't you give the patients your home phone number and get your wife to answer the phone at night, like in the "good old days"???

    Some GPs these days have an "I can't be bothered attitude" to 24hr care. They can't even be bothered to get up in the night to certify the dead. Instead, they hide behind the 2004 contract and some "OOH opt out" rubbish - simply telling patients to ring 111 etc etc.

    Come on Nick, what's your number 01... ......

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  • Such a divisive comment Many of us worked those long hours in 70's but we had a team 'the firm' and support The technology was less , interventions less, demographics different and never even thought about maybe being sued or having complaint. Life as JD far worse now from my knowledge of their working lives and I salute them for having the guts to take on this Tory Gvt and put safety patients and their own sanity be4 the unsafe contract JH wants. They are professionals in my mind without doubt and just because thought that being a doctor means vocation so can take any s''t thrown at you and that having a decent life outside of medicine is not allowed needs to be thrown out asap. We deserve respect as a profession and remuneration and terns and conditions which equate to the level of intelligence of profession If this attitude to profession doesn't happen soon in way Gvt relate to doctors more and more will vote with feet and leave or reject medicine as career If Dr NS this what u want then you have my deepest sympathies for u are a dinosaur who part of the historical maltreatment of doctors

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  • Ridiculous comment. Considering these junior doctors aren't professionals and can't be bothered to do their job properly they've done a bloody good job of organising industrial action and dealing with the media.

    I can't stand the "good old days" crowd, do my head in with their patronising rose tinted nonsense.

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