Junior doctors are striking for patient safety, which government underfunding and privatisation threatens

Junior doctors are striking in October, November and December to protect patient safety as the government puts this at risk through its continued under-funding and privatisation of the NHS.

Their overriding concern with patient safety is shown by the Junior doctors’ suspension of their September strike, in response to NHS England’s statement that NHS staff shortages are so bad that hospitals can’t come up with alternative rotas to provide cover for the strike in the short time before it was scheduled.

The new contract has many failings and a major problem is that it STILL doesn’t give junior doctors whistle blowing protection or employment rights, including the right to an employment tribunal. This means that they can’t speak up when patient safety is compromised.

It is VITAL that their contract provides them with full whistle blowing protection and full employment rights.

If you agree, please sign this petition to the government.

Here’s a link to a junior doctor explaining this on LBC

Here is the 54,000 Doctors fighting for whistle-blowing protection website

Here is the crux of the problem – Junior doctors serve 2 masters:

  1. The hospital Trust that they work in for a short period (blocks of 6 months)
  2. Health Education England (HEE) the body that interviews, appoints junior doctors into speciality and oversees training until they reach consultant level.

HEE has the right to remove Junior Doctor training, effectively halting a Junior Doctor’s career. HEE also pay 50% of Junior Doctors’ salary.

There is an obvious junior doctor employment relationship with the Trusts that they work for, so Trusts can be taken to an employment tribunal. But HEE are specifically exempted from the employment tribunal  system by act of parliament – HEE came into existence in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

So if a Junior Doctor becomes a problem for a Trust by acting to protect patients, then a phone call to HEE and their career is over.

Despite this power, HEE argued successfully in court they only have a ‘tangential’ role in the career of Junior Doctors – i.e. only a passing and superficial impact (despite being able to take a junior doctor’s career away.)

Both the BMA and HEE now accept that it was a problem, but claim that it has been fixed. This is not the case: HEE is still exempt from employment tribunal hearing.

HEE and BMA are now saying junior doctors can take them to court for breach of contract, in the same way as if the current legislation allowed HEE to be a respondent in the Employment Tribunal;  but in reality outside of the Employment Tribunal system the costs are prohibitive. In an ET you can represent yourself and get all facts heard.

Insider information is that ‘progressive’ medics on the BMA council have NOT publicly backed Chris Day – the junior doctor who blew the whistle on unsafe staffing at the Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (part of Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust) – but have actively discouraged others in their respective NHS defence groups from supporting him.

Impression: it is essential for the government that the catastrophic preventable harm done to many patients as a result of privatisation and the government’s underfunding of the NHS remains hidden – hence the deliberate creation of a system to silence junior doctors’ whistle blowing.

This is borne out by threats to junior doctors from the General Medical Council and Health Education England.

If you think junior doctors need whistle blowing protection and proper employment rights, please sign and share this petition to the government.

Why the  junior doctors are striking to improve their contract

jr drs contract.jpg

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