The government and Jeremy Hunt will portray the imposition of a new contract on junior doctors as a victory over self‐interested enemies of progress. In fact their greatest victory has been over the semantics of the English language. Their audacity has easily matched Meryl Streep's recent attempt to redefine what it
means to be black (looking forward to a Dior dashiki from her at this year's
Words have lost their meaning. A pay cut became a pay rise, getting more
weekends out of us for free became 'cost neutral. The Tories remain "The party
of the NHS" , despite Jeremy Hunt co‐authoring a book outlining how best to
dismantle it. Listening to him brings to mind Ricky Gervais explaining
Wittgenstein to Karl Pilkington, telling him that even "if a lion could speak
English... you wouldn't be able to understand what he was saying".
At times Jeremy Hunt has managed to go so far as to bend the very fabric of reality itself. Apparently, 11,000 avoidable deaths and the 'weekend effect' happened, even when evidence pointed out that they probably didn't. Attempting to win an argument under these circumstances is like trying to hit an Agent in The Matrix.
This is a tactic they have employed elsewhere - famously having recently managed to make Google 'pay tax'. This is despite the figure being only slightly more than would be enough to cover the postage on what they actually owe.
Such a tax break in a time of NHS spending cuts may not be entirely unjust though. Many already trust their smartphones and a quick Google search over their doctor to diagnose them. As the NHS is further eroded, the search engine may well end up picking up the slack.
It's only a matter of time before Wikihow will be taking you step by step through your own appendicectomy. If there are complications, there will certainly be a sub‐Reddit or similar forum page on internal haemorrhage to help you out. As long as you can read faster than you bleed you'll probably be fine.
With the role of the doctor taken care of, quite who will be doing the nursing in this post‐apocalyptic Mad Max future NHS is yet to be seen. The government's dedication to reducing the number of nurses in the UK has been unwavering.
Simultaneously discouraging UK students from studying by removing bursaries
whilst disqualifying 30,000 foreign nurses with new immigration laws would be a master stroke. Naturally this translates to an increase of 6,900 in their manifesto.
Perhaps I'm being melodramatic - universal healthcare may be around a little while longer. After all, the government have repeatedly proclaimed their commitment to a seven‐day NHS service. They want to see more routine elective work taking place in hospitals at the weekend. That this places more patients in this supposedly lethal Lord of The Flies environment, while spreading resources even more thinly is something they've undoubtedly thought about. In any case,I'm sure they have a handy new definition of logic to help them sidestep any tricky questions.
I don't want to risk the libel implications of accusing Jeremy Hunt and the rest of the cabinet of being real life wizards. That said, their apparent ability to reshape the world around them as they see fit, in their efforts to win an argument would make that a not‐unreasonable fear. In the ongoing struggle to resist their pernicious will, it would be wise to bear this in mind.