The NHS a lesson in politics: part XI


This is short and sweet. In political terms this could be described as “putting the whip about”. What am I trying to get across? GET OUT ON FUCKING STRIKE.

The facebook forum reads like the diary of a broken prisoner. The only people that can overcome the present imposition is YOU. If you don’t act with one voice, you’re all fucked. If the strike turnout anything less than thumping; Congratulations you get the double booby prize: cupping Hunt’s shrivelled scrotum AND gobbling a shit contract.

Worse still you’ll have to look at his overtly blinky face as he mutters “As I’ve always said, its about 7 day synergistic modern technology easy jet, airline safety. Massive privatisation, oh wait, furious blinking ignore that last bit” to some clueless TV news reader.

If that sounds bad then: heads up, shoulders back. FUCKING. STRIKE.

This is a noble cause, do not be ashamed.

The press

Tomorrow (the 9th of march) the Department of Health will brief the press with the followings lines:

  1. The BMA agree with 90% of the contract (SPOILER: they don’t)
  2. Patient group x say that this is a safe contract (where x is rent a gob).

Despite opinions to the contrary, the Department of Health does not have the most skilled press team. They’ve been lucky with the BMA’s steaming incompetence. However the various grassroots organisations have been working round the clock to counter the vacuum.

The only thing the DoH had done well is setting up fake Facebook profiles to undermine moral of the JDF Facebook group.

Is the contract safe?

No. See my break down of David Dalton’s letter. If fewer doctors are working fewer hours, then there are fewer doctors to go around. This is unsafe.

To spell that out more clearly: the entire fucking contract is based on a lie. Are there more doctors? nope. Have we managed to offload 3 million old people onto another health service? Nope not yet, still got loads of social care rejects, fatties & smokers.

More demand and fewer doctors means more hours.

the Department of Health has re-defined the concept of nights.

Remember kids: night time starts at 01:59 in the morning. That’s right, you could be rostered up until 01:59 everyday and not get night shift monies. Supposedly if you are forced to work past 2:00am you’ll get an uplift. However no one has explained how hours monitoring works, or how the new guardian overcomes the systematic culture of bullying that undermines the present tariff of fines.

Basic pay means shit all

Bumping up basic pay just means you have to pay more into your pension (12.5% from 9%). Don’t forget you won’t be getting pay rises for going up a grade (f1->f2->st1 etc.) either. Remember that your pension is tied to career average salary, which is going to be much lower. (even worse if you have the audacity to own ovaries.)The entire point of the basic pay increase is to act as a massive public opinion stick to beat you with.

The pay “deal” for 2016 F1s is much more pernicious. Look on the official documentation for the new contract: here, question 7 I’ve quoted for posterity:

Question 7: If new doctors entering training are not entitled to pay protection, does that mean they will earn less than doctors currently in post?

Answer: Junior doctors entering training from August 2016 will be employed under the proposed contract, in line with the phased transition plan.

Those in training will benefit from the range of fairer measures in the new contract – this includes a higher basic level of pay, higher pensionable pay, flexible pay premia, extra pay for unsocial hours and on-call supplements.

Their pay and terms and conditions on commencement will be in line with the proposals set out in the contract.

Starting pay for doctors will be made up of the following components designed to ensure that trainees are more fairly rewarded for actual work done:

higher basic salary based on a 40-hour week
additional rostered hours (up to a maximum of eight per week, on average) paid proportionately
enhanced pay for work at night, Saturday evenings and on Sunday
additional pay enhancement for those who work a shift beginning on a Saturday at a frequency of one week in four (on average) or more frequently
an on-call availability allowance based on frequency of the on-call commitment (for doctors required to be non-resident on-call overnight)
pay for any work done on-call.

For example, a new F1 doctor moving into a post that is un-banded under the current contract will benefit from significantly higher basic pay, so their earnings will actually be higher than they would have received on the New Deal contract. They will also receive additional income based on the hours that they work and their own working pattern in line with the elements above

At no point did they deny that new F1s would be paid less. The last bit is wonderfully illuminating: the only people better off are those who are unbanded (basically no one). Everyone else is fucked. This means that the drop out rate of F1s is going to edge ever higher from 50% to >70% in less than two years. Those rota gaps are just going to increase, unless youi, dear doctor, does something about it now.

Less F1s, means more unpaid overtime.

David Cameron and the Tories hope you’ll go away

The basic gamble at Tory HQ is that you’ll get bored and give up. You have your entire career to suffer this shitty contract. A few strikes compared to a wasted vocation is beer money. Globally it took between 5 and 40 strike days for doctors to get their way. Tube drivers needed about 4 days by comparison(look up the night tube debacle). You’ve endured two days so far. There will be threats, but remember there are too many of you to actually carry them out, not to mention the dubious legality.

Think of this as an investment in your ability to have some semblance of a family life. The Wife is doing 60% part time, and I worry about her health. God knows how she’d be if she was full time. Let alone a two doctor family. (ProTip: never marry another medic.)

The political dimension:

The Tories are desperately trying to febreeze the smell of decaying shit from their tailored suits. Letting the poor and disabled starve to death is fine, because swing voters are not poor or disabled. If someone manages to pin the decline of the NHS on the Tories failure to fund the NHS, its game over. However for a number of reasons its proved difficult. (Tame press, failed opposition leadership in both Corbyn and the Shadow Health team, WHERE ARE YOUR FUCKING HEALTH POLICIES YOU USELESS SHITES?) However the slow, plodding, dripping of disaffected junior doctors is turning this tide. Unlike other strikes, support for doctors continues to rise.

The EU will break the Tories, the NHS will destroy them. Let us shit in their pockets.

In pig latin: Per excremento ad astra