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The waiting game

RCGP reiterates support for junior doctors amid criticisms from other colleges

The RCGP has said that it ‘continues to support our junior doctors’, while distancing itself from a highly critical statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that labelled the planned strikes as ’not appropriate’. 

Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, became the latest college to distance itself from AoMRC’s criticisms of the junior doctor strikes, following the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR).

She called for the Government and the BMA’s junior doctors committee to return to the negotiating table. 

The AoMRC - which comprises 22 medical royal colleges, including the RCGP, the RCPCH and the RCR - had earlier said it was ’disappointed at the prospect of further sustained industrial action by junior doctors’, adding: ’We know there are genuine concerns about the contract and working arrangements, but we do not consider the proposed strikes are proportionate.

’Five days of strike action, particularly at such short notice, will cause real problems for patients, the service and the profession.’

An AoMRC spokesperson reportedly said that the RCPCH was the ‘only college’ that didn’t sign up to the statement. 

But Dr Baker confirmed the earlier Pulse report that the RCGP didn’t sign the statement. 

She said: ’We urge both sides in the dispute to get back to the negotiating table and address the issues that have arisen, so that we can reach a resolution. This is in the best interests of everyone.

’The RCGP has not signed up to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ statement on junior doctors. The College will continue to support our junior doctors at this distressing time.’

The RCR went further in its criticisms of the AoMRC’s stance, saying: ’We are unable to support the statement issued yesterday by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges because it does not advance a positive solution for patient care or the provision of safe and sustainable NHS services.  

‘We remain of the view that the dispute between junior doctors and the Government can only be resolved by resuming negotiations.’

Meanwhile, the president of the RCPCH said on Radio 4’s Today programme: ’Is it really proportionate to claim that by imposing the new contract we will suddenly manage to deliver seven-day services?’

She added: ’We have written to the health secretary to be magnanimous, to show leadership… we would like some maturity to be brought to this discussion.

’The only way to resolve the dispute is for both sides to get back to the negotiating table.’

The Guardian reported that a spokesman for the AoMRC said: ’We have 22 members. The only college that didn’t agree to the statement was the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The overwhelming majority signed up.’

Readers' comments (13)

  • Before this dispute I had never heard of the AoMRC. I see from their website that their 22 members include the royal colleges of surgeons of ireland and scotland who probably shouldnt be signing up to a statement about a junior doctors dispute in england!

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  • Doesn't sound like the Royal College of Anaesthetists are "on-board" with the AoMRC either:

    Responding to the announcement by the BMA of a series of five days of strike action by junior doctors commencing on 12 September the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA), The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) made the following statement:

    “At a time when the NHS is under increasing pressure we believe that our collective focus should be on the lack of resources and consequent low morale at the centre of this dispute. Junior doctors are under resourced, under staffed and over stretched. We fully recognise that there is still genuine concern among junior doctors about the new contract but are very concerned that such strikes could impact significantly on patient care.

    “We call on the BMA and government, once again, to focus their attention on the fundamental issues that still divide them and step away from the cycle of confrontation that is damaging to all parties. We urge both sides to negotiate urgently to reach a settlement to avoid escalating this damaging dispute.

    “As stated previously, we are confident all trainee colleagues will weigh up carefully the implications for patient welfare, the standing of the profession, the long term interest of the NHS and the justice of their cause, when considering their personal position. Whatever their decision we hope that mutual respect between those who are for or against strike action will prevail. At a time of stress and uncertainty we would recommend all members refer to our previous welfare statement.”

    Dr Liam Brennan, President, Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA)

    Dr Paul A Clyburn, President Elect, The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI)

    Dr Anna Batchelor, Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM)

    02 September 2016

    I hope the other Royal Colleges clarify their own position ASAP.

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  • It is divide and rule again. Set the consultants against the juniors by denouncing the strikes which undermines their position. Contract imposed on Juniors and then watch how a new contract for consultants comes out which will be imposed, then the nurses AHP's etc Once that all happens the workforce will be so demoralised anything else will seem good and along come United or Virgin offering jobs following new contracts given via the STP route!

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  • Vinci Ho

    As I said in the other article , this is a historical moment . Everything is well recorded in the history book . Politically correct diplomacy ? Dangerously flawed hypocrisy?
    Let our forthcoming generations to be the judges........

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  • Vinci Ho

    After all these years , I finally understand the meaning of Pink Floyd's masterpiece :
    ''We don't need no education
    We don't need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone
    Hey teacher leave us kids alone
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall''
    Remember this ?
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall , Agent Hunt.

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  • Well done RCGP - on this occasion.

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  • It takes 28% of electorate to allow the likes of Hunt to claim that they have a democratic mandate and force their objectives through without any regard for proper planning or future sustainability. Yet when 58% of JD vote rejected BMAs negotiated contract deal, the government wants BMA leadership to disregard the vote of it's members. So how did we come to this that currently in the UK doctors vote is worth less than any other voters?
    I think it's time for the gloves to come off. Forget about public opinion (all they want is free unlimited access and we are just collateral damage)or about saving NHS(it's not for us to sort out this mess), we need to fight for our rights and our professions future in this country.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Read Dominic Sandbrook's article 'David Cameron's fatal insouciance' in Newstateman(29/8/2016)this morning , a few inspirations generated :
    (1) Kind of agreed:-As he quoted Enoch Powell who said that for all prime ministers , their human flaws are inevitably amplified by the stresses in office , eventually end up as failures. This is from the perspective of looking back the history of all the previous Prime Ministers.
    (2)Strongly disagreed :-He attributed Cameron's failures to laid back personality , leaving things until the last moment, so called insouciance.
    To me , it was exactly his indifference on other people's feelings insisting his personal crusades to satisfy his sheer egoism , which cost his job in 10 Downing Street.
    George Orwell said in 'Why I write':
    “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.” And the four reasons why writers write were shear egoism , aesthetic enthusiasm , historical impulse and political purpose :-
    Sheer egoism- Wanted to be credited well in history,''desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups in childhood, etc." He says that this is a motive the writer shares with scientists, artists, lawyers - "the whole top crust of humanity" - and that the great mass of humanity, not acutely selfish, after the age of about thirty abandons individual ambition. A minority remains however, determined 'to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class.' Serious writers are vainer than journalists, though "less interested in money".
    Aesthetic enthusiasm- "pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story." He says that this motive is "very feeble in a lot of writers" but still present in all works of writing.
    Historical impulse- "desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity."
    Political purpose- ''desire to push the world in a certain direction" in every person. He concludes by saying that "the opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude."

    As far as these 'qualities' are concerned , politicians are much worse writers. Cameron certainly wanted to be remembered as 'one of the greatest' PM in all time. Of course, fate is cruel when it comes to wishful thinking . Being a columnist of Daily Mail, the author also tried to compare DC with Chamberlain and Eden , perhaps they were not that 'worst' after all as they both had good personalities and characters in the eyes of their colleagues.
    It is interesting to know how much Theresa May had learnt from this story of DC or whether she is just a blind follower copying the pattern again and again. Clearly , appointing the same health secretary seems to be a lazy and vain move although it can be argued that she is too tied up by the Brexit syndrome .
    (3) But that leads to an interesting point suggested by Dominic : Most 'good' PMs in history were remembered mainly for their establishment in positioning this country on international front stage but not so much achievements in domestic affairs . On the other hand , it was exactly the opposite being true as far as winning a general election is concerned .I think that is common sense . Historians would be tempted to go with the face value as far as the greatness of a country at a time in distant past and only imagine the sentiments and frustrations of people living in the country with harsh lives at that time . A general election now reflects the present sign of the times .
    The question of whether we should have a general election right now is obviously targeting the argument that May has had no democratic mandate. Meanwhile , it is also a big temptation considering the Labour Party is at risk of fragmentation with their chosen-one leader well led by May in the opinion polls(yes , these polls could be so wrong!).She had chosen the same way picked by Gordon Brown to wait until 2020. In a way , she has 4 years of Premiership and perhaps it is not in a lady's nature to go for a gamble even though there is a possibility of obtaining a stronger hold of majority in the Commons if we have a general election tomorrow .
    Problem is ,credibility has to be earned in a hard way otherwise.NHS is a domestic matter and it is diseased on the decline. Being lazy and laid back is just the right recipe of disaster .
    Of course , she can let her 'excellent' SOS to bear all the blames by the time of the next general election . This confrontation with the junior doctors is not going to disappear easily , especially her excellent SOS continues in his office . This is ironically a bigger gamble than triggering the general election tomorrow .
    For all her vision of tackling the inequalities in this country , she does not need liability like her excellent health secretary .
    Choice is yours , Miss May.......

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  • Vinci Ho

    That is what Ellen McCourt said about this situation on Guardian. Not surprising , the pro- government media machinery had been switched on to dig deeper to explore the history of the protest leader and more shamefully , her family.
    ''The biggest risk with this contract, and also with this dispute continuing, is that doctors will leave the NHS,” said McCourt. “You can’t stretch us more thinly. There needs to be a plan – how are we going to make medicine more attractive to people? How are we going to make people stay in the NHS?”
    “I have some colleagues who took time out to work in New Zealand between their first two years of training and their speciality training, and they came back to the UK because they’d always planned on coming back to the UK,” she said. “Now they plan on leaving again. One is a general practice trainee and one is an emergency medicine trainee – our most under-recruited specialities.”
    She wrote to the SOS last month giving the reasons why the contract was rejected . “When he imposed the contract, he said in parliament: ‘My door is always open, I want to be able to address any outstanding problems’, so I took him at his word.”
    “I tried two weeks ago to get back in touch with the secretary of state to ask why haven’t we heard anything back and I could only get in touch with his special advisers; I couldn’t get in touch with him. And when we [met] on Tuesday it was very different – it was: ‘Well, you’re proposing industrial action so we haven’t responded’.
    “If we’d seen some response or some movement then we could have said, well, the government do want to talk to us, they are willing to make changes without us again resorting to industrial action.”

    “This contract financially disincentivises less-than-full-time trainees – carers, parents, who are predominately women, in a workforce that is predominantly women,” said McCourt.

    ''I would much rather be in a room with the government getting this sorted out than having to make the plans that we’re being forced to make, hearing that the press are hounding my family. I would much rather be talking with the government, with NHS employers to try and get an resolution to this.”

    Nigel , I think you should give her an interview.

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