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Turns out the world didn't end after the junior doctors' strike

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Well, it’s come and gone and the world hasn’t ended, much to Mr Hunt’s dismay I expect.

Hunt could spin the outcome to suggest that low attendance at casualty departments means we don’t need so many doctors

Like a lot of these ‘oh my God we’re all going to die’ scenarios fed to us by certain factions of the national press (the millennium bug was another good example of a non-event) the awful predications the junior doctors’ strike would lead to patients dropping like flies didn’t materialise.

The streets were not littered with the dead and dying unable to get medical attention from one of those selfish, greedy doctors the brave Mr Hunt is bravely confronting on behalf of the ‘hard-working families’ of this country. (Am I alone in wanting to perform an un-anaesthetised laryngectomy on every MP who utters that trite phrase?)

No, contrary to the scare mongers, it seems A&E departments in many parts of the country were quieter than ever. Maybe it was the helpful advice from the Government to ‘only use A&E departments in a medical emergency’ during the doctors’ strike (damn, I bet all those kids whose parents had planned birthday parties in the waiting room of casualty departments were disappointed).

Some papers were reporting that going to A&E during the strike would be ‘better’ than on a normal day as consultants were running it.

Really? Apart from trauma and casualty consultants how many emergencies do the public think senior doctors deal with on a daily basis?

It always amazes me how little the non-medical press and public understand about the different roles of consultants and junior doctors. Would you really want a consultant leading your cardiac arrest, who last wielded a defibrillator in anger when David Cameron was still abusing dead pigs?

It’s a bit like Joe Public thinking you have to be super intelligent to be a ‘brain surgeon’. It’s a good job they didn’t see these wonderful surgeons as medical students. Certainly drinking a pint of lager out of a condom, bollock-naked in front of a baying crowd in the student bar takes skill, but not necessarily the skills most people would associate with neurosurgery.

So it looks like Hunt’s bet that the strike would turn the public against junior doctors didn’t pay off.  What will his next move be?  Like a cornered rat he could go for the jugular and spin the outcome to suggest that low attendance at casualty departments when the juniors were away means we don’t need so many doctors.

Watch this space.

Dr David Turner is a GP in west London

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Readers' comments (8)

  • The strike appears to have achieved precisely zilch in progressing the junior's cause; time to either accept Hunt has won, or resign and move on?

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  • If he's wise, he'll ignore them and wait for a reshuffle. He has no need to steal momentum - he has moved on.

    The Juniors must get the momentum back by taking action, and that will be harder to pitch. Mass resignation might be their best bet - it would certainly get his attention back.

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  • The only dead pigs i see here are the juniors.The strikes have failed miserably.You cannot win against the largest and sole employer of doctors in this country.

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  • I disagree with above comments. I hope the junior doctors continue their action, possibly even extend it. Medicine as a career is rapidly heading the same way as nursing and teaching - once fine professions destroyed by government interference. Just because GPs are a spineless bunch does not mean we should not support colleagues who are keen to stand up for themselves
    Go for it JDs!!!

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  • JDs have choices;

    1. locum
    2. career break
    3. research
    4. emigrate
    5. career change to subjects allied to medicine (there are loads)
    6. do a MSc and convert to STEM careers
    7. change career completely
    8. go on the dole
    9. etc etc

    they have nothing to lose as the world is short of doctors and hard workers.

    the state will have to explain to their public why we don't have doctors and why they will need to go private to pay for their healthcare.

    it's not the role of doctors to provide state healthcare - it is the states job. doctors agree to work for the state and provide a service (medical expertise) to the public. doctors can do that job out of state provision.

    frankly, JDs have nothing to worry about.

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  • The fight must go on.

    Salaried GPs including me are the most spineless in the medical profession in this country

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  • Vinci Ho

    You see, things are not really what they seem and one day of politics has become far , far too long last few days.
    After seeing through LFC's triumph on Thursday night in Europe and reaching another European Final , I wasn't too bothered to stay up late to follow live coverage of the local /Scottish Parliament elections (which I normally would do and walk like a zombie next day at work!) . While so much spin on the media was about the ex-London mayor's outrageous anti-Semitic remarks, my prediction was the result was very much a status quo , repeat of what was reflected in the general election last year.
    Kind of right but also wrong. Feedbacks from various party next morning(Friday , yesterday ) were extraordinarily 'good' ; everybody had a good night !!!
    Good- because Labour's loss in seat was less than predicted(but after last year, we know the media pre-election poll could be so crap anyway )So , it was good because only left instead of both sides of your face was slapped!
    Good- because Conservative has become the biggest opposition party in Scotland but SNP still got times two the number of your seats! Feel good factor was energising through Mr Cameron's body merely because a 'day of dread' turned out to be a relatively normal day.
    Still good- Lib Dem was winning some seats marking a road to revival. Yes, the 'good' spirit of something was better than nothing.Wow!
    Really , United Kingdom had virtually fragmented into a Republic of Britain with radical domination in various parts of the country , certainly 'no one size fits all'. (a bit of Westeros in Game of Thrones). As Laura Kuenssberg alluded , 'good' in politics is really about actually winning things out of your enemy's territory .
    Obama recently said ,''Seek out people who don't agree with you. That will teach you to compromise.
    Compromise does not mean surrendering what you believe." But to me , 'compromise' is only one of the tactics in order to win . Win is still the goal. Pretty confident our young colleagues understand this.
    The real breakthrough in this election was on Ruth Davidson , Scottish leader of Conservatives , and Sadiq Khan,the first Muslim Labour Mayor of London . The former simply does not look like a Tory MP and the latter was clever enough to stay well clear of his party leader and stick to practicality in his policies.
    Agreed again with Laura Kuenssberg that the lesson to the traditionally 'nasty' Tory Party was the stark contrast between two entirely different approaches in Scotland and London to convince and persuade people in believing what you are selling in politics. For that , Agent Hunt was in the same league of Zac Goldsmith who failed badly by a 'fear' strategy .( It turned out the perception of racism in this Tory campaign was more costly than anti-Semitism in Labour Party ) Saying the right thing in the right time at the right place , Khan said ,''politics of fear is not welcome in our city". And I would say 'in our country' as well.
    I stick to my comment that this government showing all signs of weakness and typically made a major U-turn on full academisation of all schools , announcing that right in the middle of election. 'Poor' education secretary had to swallow her pride and own policy on behalf of the government in front of camera but the embarrassment was at least minimised by deliberately setting the date.
    Yes, one argue seven days NHS was in the manifesto and hence biblical as far as the Tories are concerned but politics is all about interpretations. People 'like' underdogs which were well battered by 'Giants' . In a way , both Davidson and Khan were underdogs.

    'power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.It is a trick , a shadow on the wall , yet a shadow can kill.And oft times ,a very small man can cast a very large shadow .' Game of Thrones

    This is a long battle , young Padawans, there is everything to fight for and serve for freedom from fear .......

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  • Vinci Ho

    Congratulate Leicester City Football Club!!!

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