On the day he imposed a morale-busting contract on junior doctors, the health secretary also announced... an urgent inquiry into the state of doctor's morale. Beyond satire?
Destroying public services is actually quite tricky.
Before a politician can ride off into the multimillion pound corporate sunset, he or she has to be ruthless - but also astute enough to convince the public that mangling public services is NOT about corporate capture.
As the Junior Doctors stood up to protect patients and expose the government’s latest NHS misadventures, one could almost see the beads of sweat flow on Jeremy Hunt’s brow.
No doubt the warnings of the health industry lobbyists were ringing in his ears:
“Jeremy, we don’t want fair doctor wage bills if we are going to take over these hospitals.”
And he finally did it. He dropped the hammer. These contracts would be imposed on the junior doctors.
And then a few days later he commissioned an urgent public inquiry into the morale of the UK’s junior doctors. Showing that he was as adept at political satire as he was at needlessly besmirching the people who save other people’s lives, our health secretary decided that he needed to find out why the people on the road behind his steamroller looked so curiously flat.
Not content with questioning the medical integrity of UK professionals, playing fast and loose with scientific evidence base and co-opting NHS managers whose names were added against their will to a letter of support, Mr Hunt has now shown himself equally adept at defiling the integrity of the public inquiry (already looking a bit shaky, since Lord Chilcott’s perpetual motion Iraq inquiry).
For those of you perched on the edge of your chairs, eager for someone to resolve the labyrinthine conundrum that is the junior doctors’ low morale, you don’t have to wait.
Based on the amount of sense the government have so far talked about the junior doctors, I am going to take you with me on a leap into time to present the key executive findings of this particular public inquiry.
A leap into the future- The eight key reasons for junior doctor’s low morale
- One of the key drivers of low doctor morale is the way that the militants have stopped them from not being able to see how right Jeremy Hunt is all the time. To have their pay capped and to work dangerous long hours all seems so sensible until the 98% of militants come along and twist things with their socialist spells. Something urgently needs to be done about this.
- Low morale is also directly related to being public servants. Junior doctors are desperate to work for private companies who deliver poorer fragmented care and where poor people have no access to comprehensive health coverage. It makes them so sad that payday loan companies aren't able make fortunes out of vulnerable people.
- One of the big drivers of low doctor morale was the way that the academic communities insist upon people being careful about the conclusions drawn from uncertain research findings. More than one junior doctor has in the past had to be talked down from a ledge mumbling about “why can’t people just say what they like about uncertain research findings”.
- When they while away the hours playing ‘throw the paper ball in the bin’ to relieve the tedium of underwork, some junior doctors have reported feeling really low about missing the bin. Longer hours for less pay would be an obvious solution for this.
- More work for less money would also put pay to one of the most disturbing findings - the gang culture that has emerged among junior doctors in recent years, essentially out of boredom. This simply has to stop. In one hospital junior doctors were mugging patients with flick knives. When caught, one wailed “My morale is just so low due to boredom”.
- On a related issue, junior doctors themselves feel very strongly about having too much money. Long before this recent crisis erupted demonstrations were found around the country outside hospitals. It was not uncommon to hear the chant "What do we want? To have our pay cut and hours extended? When do we want it? Whenever, we're free most days due to underwork."
- Perhaps one of the key drivers of low junior doctor morale was not being given the chance to make a fatal prescription error due to overwhelming fatigue. Most junior doctors will tell you that falling asleep while resuscitating a motorcycle fatality was why they became a doctor in the first place. To have this taken away by bloody unions is a disgrace.
- A survey of junior doctors carried out last year on the key challenges to their everyday working environment, found that top of the list was how frustrated our junior doctors were by the lack of vindictive and pathologically ambitious neoliberal poster boys to publicly and routinely denigrate them in the press.