I am a GP partner and also train junior doctors in inner city Manchester. I have been a doctor for 13 years.
I am writing not as a junior doctor but as a voice for my patients that I've looked after for the past 10 years.
Let's be clear the driving force behind all the changes to the contracts is austerity. A desire to privatise the NHS. That is what this is all about.
And it will affect my patients so I'm not going to be silent . I am going to fight to make sure my patients receive the best care possible. The care they are entitled to. The free care they were promised when the NHS was created for rich or poor, man woman or child . So I will not let Mr Hunt destroy the NHS by implementing changes that will inevitably lead to privatisation.
I already witness the effect of austerity.
I already deal with the impact welfare cuts, NHS service cuts, unemployment, and the housing crisis has on my patients.
Patients slide into depression or turn to alcohol and drugs as a result of financial worries and then lose their livelihoods and families. Parents miss meals to ensure their children can eat lunch in the school holidays. I had patients who have have had no money to eat and no money to get transport to the food bank.
Patients with chronic mental health issues ie the most vulnerable members of society will be disproportionately affected by the current austerity measures as they have their benefits cut and care compromised due to cutbacks in mental health care.
It's not just the patients. Medical students with rising debts because of student fees have asked for part time work at my practice because otherwise they would have to choose between continuing their medical degree or working to earn a wage to help their family.
These are the real problems that need addressing.
Mr Hunt don't frighten my patients by saying the service is poorer at the weekends, because the patients I work so hard to look after all week will be too frightened to go to the hospital to seek medical help all due to a baseless propaganda which has told them they are more likely to die.
Stop telling my patients there needs to be a 7 day NHS service across the country because unless I've missed something fundamental there is already 7 day service. In fact 81% of patients are happy with their current GP opening hours. Don't tell my patients what you think they want , listen to what they need.
I don't spend my time training some of the most fantastic, brightest, aspiring young people of this country as junior doctors for them to go to Australia to provide the country with 13% of their GPs and 22% of their specialists. Call me selfish but I want them to look after my patients, me and my family. If there is a mass exodus of junior doctors it will bring an already crippled NHS down to its knees.
I don't expect my patients to be seen by doctors who are demoralised, unmotivated, tired, unhappy and stressed by mounting debt because their pay has been cut, hours changed and the safeguarding on the hours they work removed because it will affect my patients. Junior doctors are human and they will make a mistake.
Parts of the media to needs to stop demonising the medical profession. Mr Hunt stop using the media to lie to my patients. Negotiating on one item out of 23 on a contract isn't negotiation, quite simply it's just insulting. My patients deserve the truth. Stop the spin doctoring. Leave the doctoring to us.
The current attempts to change the junior doctor contracts and GP working hours are not a solution to the currents problems in the NHS. Instead it's clearly a step towards privatisation and would lead to an unequal, unfair, unsafe NHS. This isn't the answer.
If the junior doctors who are the future of the NHS have to strike to ensure a fair and safe contract to protect the NHS and provide the best care to my patients I support you all 100%.
I must congratulate Mr Hunt, if he's done one thing right he has united every specialty to stand together as one.
Some of the General Medical Council duties of a doctor state:
Make the care of your patient your first concern.
Provide a good standard of practice and care.
Take prompt action if you think patient safety is being compromised.
This is why I write this today.
I feel privileged to be a doctor. Humbled by my patients and inspired by my colleagues.
I'm neither a militant doctor nor a moderate doctor. I will not be dictated to. I'm a doctor.A doctor who has a responsibility to my patients and society.
Which is why I promise to fight for the junior doctors ,for all my patients and to ensure the NHS remains a basic right for us all rather then a privilege.Suggest a correction