What do pop stars, chocolate bars and Prime Ministers have in common? No, it's not a dodgy one liner. All three have all been subject to the mighty ...
n law, any strike action is automatically a breach of contract. To save a strike from being unlawful - and therefore entitling the employer to sack the strikers -- a strike ballot has to be held. But, a valid ballot must follow certain precise rules, the whole point being to prevent strikes which do not have the support of the majority of the employees concerned.
This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It has never been about pay; it has been about fairness. It has never been about wanting weekends off; it has been about patient safety. It has never been about 7/7 working; it has been about a failing, underfunded NHS that no-one in the government is willing to acknowledge.
David Cameron promised a 'truly seven-day NHS' before and after the general election, even going as far as to use the word 'plan' 18 times in one speech. The fact that there is no plan, that the government is yet to set the objectives or assess the impact of expanding seven-day services, only goes to show that this was nothing more than a headline-grabbing soundbite set to win votes rather than improve care for patients.
Based on their track record, would they have hesitated to legally challenge the UK government: particularly on Jeremy Hunt's early assertion that we do not already have a seven-day emergency NHS, a proclamation which has already led to well-documented patient harm?
What happens when medics and social media collide? You get one of the biggest revolutions in one of the world's most respected healthcare systems... A real power shift happened. Social media meant that the people, whom the NHS stood for, were back in the driving seat.
Be in no doubt the Government have amassed a huge range of tools to reshape the NHS by hook or by crook but because they have passed responsibility onto the 44 STP footprint areas, you won't see Jeremy Hunt or Theresa May standing up in Parliament to announce or even to defend hospital closures or the further creeping privatisation of health services.
What I am going to write in this post isn't going to shock people. There is no big revelation hidden within it. But I have come to the conclusion that if Jeremy Hunt isn't constantly nagged about the state of the Mental Health Service in England, nothing is actually going to be done about it.
Whatever is happening in the Labour Party, we cannot lose our focus on fighting for the investment that the NHS needs and tackling any attempts to use the current financial crisis as a Trojan horse for privatisation.
What the BBC would do well to remember before it goes any further down this path is that, whilst it may receive its funding from the government, the money comes from the tax payer. The purpose of the upcoming negotiations is to make the NHS better for our tax paying patients, not better for the well-being of our government's manifesto pledges.
On the last day before the summer recess, buried in a deluge of government announcements, today Jeremy Hunt has snuck out an announcement that the NHS bursary will be scrapped for students seeking to begin study in 2017/18. This is a complete disgrace and shows that the cynical and underhand tactics used under the last Prime Minister will continue under Theresa May.
Yet for the last six years the Conservative Party had sold the myth of austerity, promising that that cutting public services would "save money", rather than simply put our poorest citizens through unnecessary misery - or worse -and chock off a sustainable economic recovery. The NHS has been biggest casualty of his this ideologically-driven slash and burn of the public sphere.
The movement for change must be met by more than warm words from those with the power to write legislation and apportion budgets. We need our politicians as well as the public to champion mental health at the highest level, with genuine commitment to the humanitarian as well as economic arguments for better services.
A new or amended national policy is no doubt the correct formal answer, but time is absolutely essential to Matty so we are asking Jeremy Hunt in conjunction with NHS England to approve Matty's treatment without delay. This family, and I believe this nation, will hold Mr Hunt and NHS England for ever accountable if they close the door on Matty.
It doesn't really matter now what happens with the contract. Come August the shortage of junior doctors will be worse than ever, rotas will be full of gaps and the existing workforce will be even more stretched than they are at present. This will perpetuate the downward spiral of NHS morale and the ongoing departure of valuable staff from the service. If only Mr Hunt had been willing to talk all those months ago.
As we study a new Queen's Speech, it seems a good time to reflect on what has been a busy twelve months for general practice: In May 2015 we saw the...