I have been grabbed and dragged screaming into the NHS debate. I had no intention of joining the angry voices. The shouts and slogans; it seems like the old days and I have a real disdain for the old days.
Days when people marched and sloganised, as I did on a regular basis throughout my earlier years. I suppose I hate the fact that virtually all of the marches and slogans were a kind of letting off steam, and that things went on just as they had done.
Largely, the marching changed nothing. It just allowed people to meet and feel good and comradely; march and shout, and then go back to their small black-and-white TVs. And play with their Rubik’s Cubes, so to speak.
Of the three doctors who sat with me, two will be leaving the service soon if things don’t change
So when people protested loudly to me, by me, around me and seemingly through me about the imminent collapse of the NHS, I told them to take their rasping voices elsewhere.
But then a bevy of junior doctors came to see me a cold night last week in my office at the Houses of Parliament and told me their crestfallen story. Not crestfallen in the sense of defeated or even resigned. But hurt by what junior doctors were expected to do in the coming period. And how they were described by central government; and the government’s plans for them. Of the three doctors who sat with me, two will be leaving the service soon if things don’t change.
Apparently the fight between government and junior doctors is around the idea of extending rotas, and coverage of the weekend, or so it seemed to me. The doctors said that they were expected to be more than one doctor. Being one doctor is hard enough, being two must be nigh impossible.