The BMA has called off next week's junior doctors' strike, citing patient safety concerns. This may prove to be a prudent move, as new YouGov data reveals that the public increasingly believes that junior doctors are wrong to go on strike.
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.
You're probably reading this because you had a knee-jerk reaction to the title, considering the recent media press surrounding the planned 5 day walk out over junior doctor contract imposition and a heavily publicised nationwide shortage of doctors.
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.
Black Wednesday is upon us. This Wednesday, there will be thousands of newly qualified doctors and junior doctors rotating commencing and rotating posts coupled with a general summer holiday exodus for most senior healthcare professionals.
As a junior doctor in occupational health - a medical specialty concerned with health at work, I spend a significant proportion of my time coaching and supporting my junior doctor colleagues who in this current climate, are particularly vulnerable to the insurmountable workplace and training demands coupled with seemingly never-ending warfare between the government and the BMA.
In the end, junior doctors will look after you day and night. Now someone needs to look after them. Safe doctors will mean and always has meant safer patient care. It is time for the new Guardians of Safe Working Hours to step up to the plate.
The Blairite coup against Jeremy Corbyn has sorely misjudged the public mood. The economy is in free fall and the rampant racism unleashed by the Leave campaign makes the "No blacks, dogs and Irish" signs of the 60's seem welcoming. Vigilante bigots now roam our streets attacking "foreigners", issuing unofficial deportation orders demanding, "We want our country back".
Our underfunded NHS now faces potentially catastrophic financial consequences of Brexit. But the most immediate threat to the NHS is not financial but human: the risk that members of its most precious, most undervalued asset - its workforce - may now wonder what on earth they are doing here.
You know what the problem is with the NHS? And I'm not thinking about too few nurses, although that is probably true, and I don't mean too little money, although that's a huge issue, and it's not that there's more of us and we are all living longer, although that's true too...no, the problem with the NHS is that consultants don't put in the hours.
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.
Junior doctors have absolutely no interest in political victories, we want there to be less politics in the NHS, not more, and we want to refocus a generation of doctors on the important work ahead, to deliver an NHS we all can be proud of.
The responsibility lies with the government; they have chosen to spend £9m on a leaflet about Brexit without spending this on having more junior doctors or investing in a better contract for junior doctors.