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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)

  • @|Anonymous | Sessional/Locum GP|13 Jan 2016 12:40pm

    No-one pays me to say anything. I have my own views.

    I do not think people who disagree with me are stupid, they just see things differently. I find reading others' views interesting and sometimes informative, though not always.

    I don't understand why you consider my posting as 'emotional blackmail'- it certainly wasn't intended that way.

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  • At least Dr Summerton put his name to his post , anyone can argue his point of view if their own differ but most above commented failed to do so. Its unprofessional. Some posts are frankly rude.
    Something is very wrong when medical profession decided to protest by striking!

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  • Dr. Summerton and all the people who object to junior doctors strike can they please provide solution on what our junior colleagues should have done instead of striking ? They have entered in dialogue with Government, involved ACAS. When Government does not want to listen for fulfillment of their own idiosyncrasies, they were left only with one option to strike. It's Mr. HUNT WHO HAS FORCED THESE JUNIORS TO GO ON STRIKE. IF ANYONE IS TO BE BLAMED BLAME HIM. If they really want to create 7 day NHS then they have to invest in it. Don't ask GP and doctors to sacrifice and do more for less. I am all for 7 day NHS if there are enough doctors and nurses to run 7 day service. With current policies and Minister Like Mr Burt saying he is not bothered whether there are any takers for Sunday appointment, but we should still offer Sunday appointment.It only shows that all they care about is votes to show public that they have fulfilled their election promises.

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  • I rarely disagree with everything a colleague has to say, but I do here.
    I trained in the bad old days -we didn't have dialogue, we did as we were told, and the system made us feel grateful for it. Excellent doctors left, often not in a good way because of the stress, and we became accustomed to an abusive system, which did our social and mental health no good whatsoever.
    Female doctors were told their need for study leave was not as important as the men's, and made to cover their absences because no one wanted to pay for locums.
    We grew up to be the GP's who voted in what we knew was a really bad contract, because the government threatened the imposition of a worse contract on us and we caved in.
    I do not want Junior doctors to have my experience of medicine or accept bad change or bullying so easily. I think the Junior Doctors organising the action and the strike have shown great maturity, professionalism, unity , and a refreshingly light touch in the way they have handled the politics and the media.
    We should learn from them rather than wish on them our own mistakes.

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  • I am really disappointed that such an ill-informed piece has been published. Of course the author is entitled to his opinion. However, I would have thought any professional wishing to publish such a piece would do so with some respect for their colleagues and the facts. I am all for balanced debate, but as a junior doctor myself I find this offensive, and am amazed that the editorial team saw fit to publish it.

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  • Our disunity has long been exploited by the DOH and this dishonest regime is little different from the previous ones.
    The NHS sadly is being demolished because its deemed no longer affordable.Cowardice has long prevented government admitting this so they prevaricate and discredit us by all means possible and hope perhaps for a miracle.
    No wonder huge numbers of Junior doctors (including GPs) are emigrating. What a terrible waste.
    Its great to see the gallant junior doctors fight back and avidly oppose this wickedness and I do hope the GPC will do the same.
    GP Partner North London.

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  • Suspect this GP is a plant - not come across a single doctor GP or otherwise who agrees with his view. We used to send children up chimneys but we now know better?

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  • I also did the horrendous old days (120h a week, up to 19 days in a row) and I don't remember any bloody dialogue! I remember being terrified of making a mistake (when I was awake enough to be terrified) and being routinely belittled and criticised by senior colleagues when I was so tired I could barely stand.
    I totally support the current juniors in trying to prevent a return to the bad old days. It was horrifically dangerous, and any doctor who says otherwise is guilty of either rose-tinted memory fabrication, or indefensible 'we did so you should too' arrogance.

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  • The reason we still have armies is that talking doesn't always work.

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  • This comment has been moderated

  • 9:53 agree
    I'm not so old as NS but was junior in the early 90s. There were plenty of people not doing discharge summaries then, because of sheer pressure of work and exhaustion. I know because I used to supplement by income by doing them as a favour for exhausted colleagues on my nights off on a 1:3 rota. 50p per summary or £1 if needed for next day. Could do 30-50 a night. Helped to pay off the debts. I respect the juniors and support their strike. I remember being told by my consultant that the 'on-call facilities' for my 1:4 paeds job was to sleep on the floor in her office, but that I should really be too busy to sleep on a 28 hour shift. Wish we had had a strike back then

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