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)

  • NS IS ENTITLED TO HIS OPINION.
    BUT HE CANNOT DENIGRATE THE JUNIOR DOCTORS AND COMPARE HIS WORKING CONDITIONS TO TODAY'S UNFAVORABLY. THAT IS NOT FAIR.
    THAT IS UNPROFESSIONAL.
    HE MAY KNOW BETTER THAN 98 % OF THESE 4 A* FOLKS.
    BUT I DOUBT IT. I DO NOT THINK NS IS EINSTEIN.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • National Hopeless Service

    I feel sad Dr Summerton that you both have these view and have published them. I feel especially sad as the father of a medical student who is considering moving abroad immediately after qualifying.

    I find your ‘back in my time’ views all a bit Monty Python ‘160 of us living in a shoebox in’t middle of the road’

    I too qualified in the mid 1980s, I too worked 100hr weeks and 1:2 rotas. It didn’t make me a better doctor, person or a better communicator.
    As a part-time coal face GP in his 50’s who will retire on a very good pension on or before 60, which these nasty striking junior doctors will never do, I find your comparison of the workload and role of current junior doctors and ours one of pure ignorance.

    CT scans lived only in the top teaching hospital and MRI scans were nothing more than the vague thought of a physicists mind in 1984, they are now a major diagnostic tool for these nasty striking junior doctors day and night. In 1984 Post cholecystectomy patients spent a week or more in hospital convalescing because bed occupancy wasn’t running at near 100%. If you had an MI in the 1980 you mostly died or had a few supporting drugs, now it’s an immediate angiogram day or night undertaken or supported by these nasty striking junior doctors. CVA patients were treated with a drip and a prayer not a CT scan and thrombolytic drugs and all their complications. I could go on but that would be boring.

    Current junior doctors are overwhelmed and overworked and I see no reason why they should apologise to you when that level of work deemed by you and their employers as reasonable renders them unable to communicate effectively.

    As an Oxford graduate Dr Summerton I wonder if you agree with the demands of some students there that the statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed, after all ‘back in his time’ making a living out of slavery was deemed OK.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 8am to 6pm ,weekdays!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I fully support the Juniors
    Since leaving my partnership and working as a GP in A+E I have met many "junior" colleagues I have been helped, supported, educated and amazed by how hard these young doctors work.
    We, more senior in years, need to respect the next generation, they will, after all, be looking after us when we need them.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

Have your say