The referendum has energised politics and highly polarised views are emerging.
The ‘remain’ camp insist that we should stay for the sake of the NHS.
This is nonsense. Fundamentally the problem is one of empathy. You see, the problem is mainly that we have an elite group of politicians who have become detached from the realities and hardships of the British people. Whatever your profession, you can be sure that the elite in favour of the EU have little understanding of your daily hardships. This is obviously apparent when we see how little politicians understand of the problems frontline NHS staff face.
Messrs Cameron and Hunt have repeatedly pushed for a seven-day NHS – this is a delusion because present services are already suffocated of funds and are struggling.
The disastrous approach to the junior contract by Hunt showed a visceral contempt for the welfare of frontline doctors with the same misguided seven-day NHS justification. Dr Sarah Wollaston who condemned the junior doctor strike action as an ‘absolute disgrace’ has ‘defected’ to the remain campaign. Jeremy Hunt also supports the remain campaign. Junior doctors, GPs and consultants are all being asked to do more for less. Doctors are leaving the UK and many junior doctors do not want to become GPs. Data from NHS education Scotland shows 20% of places are unfilled. Many GP trainees want to emigrate because of the toxic working conditions of the NHS.
The Government’s response to the problems of the NHS is to mercilessly pursue hardworking professionals with more regulation. Rethinking regulation, published by the Professional Standards Authority makes it clear that the UK’s current regulators such as the CQC are too expensive to fund, and are over-complicated. An internal review of the GMC found that 28 doctors committed suicide while under investigation by the regulator. The GMC is accountable to Parliament through the House of Commons health committee.
We then move to the controversial subject of immigration. For too long this has been a ‘no go issue.’ We learn from Steve Hilton (former PM adviser) concerning immigration that Mr Cameron was told directly of the impossible nature of controlling immigration with present EU legislation. It is a sad reality but there is abuse of the NHS by non UK citizens. It is only fair they pay up front if they are not entitled to free care. The Government must stop anyone taking advantage of a system already under immense pressure but its approach once again has been to pressure frontline health staff into resolving an immigration issue that is the Government’s responsibility. Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, warns it’s going to be ‘bloody tough’ for the NHS in the future due to lack of funding. The present lack of control over immigration will make this considerably worse.
Doctors are dying, retiring in droves and emigrating. I cannot see any benefit the EU has provided that has helped me and any other frontline staff in dealing with the present crisis in the NHS. Every day it becomes apparent that those in support of the remain campaign are divorced from the realities of the NHS. Vote Brexit.
Dr Zishan Syed is a GP Partner in Kent