General Strike required to win junior doctors struggle!

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THE Academy of Medical Royal Colleges yesterday issued a statement saying: ‘This is a time of unprecedented crisis for the NHS. With this in mind and in the spirit of placing patient welfare first and foremost we are writing in response to the escalation of the junior doctors’ dispute in England.

‘We call on both sides in the dispute to step back from the brink by suspending imposition of the contract and the all-out strike and urge a return to negotiations. We believe that this is essential if the current impasse is to be broken and progress made in resolving this extremely damaging stand-off for the benefit of all NHS stakeholders, particularly our patients and trainees.’

This declaration by the AMRC ignores the fact that this is a fight that the government has picked, and is determined to wage, and win. It will not suspend the imposition of the contracts, it will not return to negotiate.

Cameron and Hunt are making war on the junior doctors to bring in NHS privatisation. To stop it they must be beaten and brought down! The AMRC chiefs would be far better employed calling on all workers to join the picket lines on April 6th!

At the same time, 1,000 medical professionals have signed a letter to the Prime Minister. Among the signatories is GP Clare Gerada, former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

It reads: ‘We urge the Prime Minister to end the Junior Doctors’ Dispute. Dear Prime Minister, NHS staff, past and present, we write to you to seek your immediate intervention in the Junior Doctors’ dispute.

‘We share your passion for patient safety and clinical excellence. However, this should not involve the misuse of statistics to impose a new contract on some of the most committed, hard working and value-driven individuals in our country. Junior doctors have a deep commitment to the NHS and their patients. They give up their personal and professional lives for the NHS 24hrs a day seven days a week. On more than one occasion now they have been pushed into facing the abyss and take strike action rather than care for their patients.

‘Our fear, held by many is that if this dispute continues many more doctors will follow the current trend and leave the country to work abroad as they feel disillusioned and unhappy with how they are being treated by your government.

‘Many of us have said that this dispute is not about doctors seeking more pay, rather it is about ensuring a safe and fair contract for all doctors no matter what specialty they work in or what stage of their career they are at.

‘The leading US health policy expert Don Berwick said recently that it was vital to “de-escalate” the conflict between the government and the junior doctors, which would otherwise stand in the way of the quality improvement the NHS needs. He said, “The government should apologise. It would be an act of generosity and courage.” We agree with these sentiments, whole-heartedly.

‘This prolonged dispute is damaging our NHS, our patients and our profession. We urge you to withdraw the imposition of the new contract so that a safe and fair solution can be found.’

The 1,000 health professionals are making fools of themselves. Cameron has not the slightest intention of withdrawing the contract imposition – as far as intervention is concerned, he is already up to his neck in it to smash the junior doctors. He is not interested in a ‘fair solution’. He wants the final solution, that is, contract imposition and NHS privatisation.

If the 1,000 NHS professionals want to really play a positive role, and stop making fools of themselves, they should join the picket lines on the two strike actions on 6th April and on 26-27th of April and write a letter to the TUC general council demanding that it call a general strike to support the junior doctors and win the dispute by bringing down the Tories.

The first strike action is at 08:00 on 6th April for 48 hours when junior doctors will refuse to provide routine care but will cover emergency departments. All-out stoppages are then planned to take place from 08:00 to 17:00 on 26 and 27 April.

Consultants will be drafted in from other hospital departments to staff emergency care.

News Line urges all workers to take strike action on April 6th and April 26-27 and to mount mass pickets of all NHS hospitals. On April 27th the General Council of the TUC is meeting at Congress House, London.

News Line urges the junior doctors and all workers to lobby the general council on April 27th to demand that it is addressed by the junior doctors and that it calls a general strike to defeat the Tory attacks on the NHS, including the contract imposition, by bringing them down and bringing in a workers government.