Junior doctors must call new strike and the BMA and TUC must stop with them!


THE BMA warned yesterday that ‘Politically driven mismanagement is undermining patient care in England. It was responding to a report from the King’s Fund which shows rising NHS Trust deficits amounting to £2.3 billion with a knock-on effect on patient care.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council Chair, warned: ‘It is clear that the government is managing the NHS into deficit by cutting resources while expecting service improvements at a time of rising demand.

‘Asking for greater efficiency from the most efficient health service in the developed world, regardless of the mounting deficits that hobble frontline patient care, amounts to politically-driven mismanagement.

‘This comes at a time when the population is growing older with complex health needs. Doctors see this as increasing and sustained strain on overstretched hospital services.’

The NHS is being driven by the Tories at top speed into the wall where bankruptcy and privatisation awaits.

At the same time the Chief Executive Designate, Jim Mackey (From 1 April 2016 NHS Improvement will be the operational name for the organisation that brings together Monitor, NHS TDA, groups and Support Teams) is already jumping the gun to tell NHS trusts that the imposed contract on the junior doctors must be imposed without exception and that trouble makers must be dealt with.

He has written to ‘NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Trust Chief Executive Officers and Chairs’ that ‘We must all now work together, across all professional groups, to help the service implement the contract consistently and address the concerns raised by junior doctor colleagues. . .

He indicates how this is to be done writing: ‘Finally, I understand that some colleagues have been subject to personal attacks on social media, associated with the contract dispute. I am sure that you all agree that this is unacceptable and unprofessional so, again, would urge you to help stop this if you see evidence of such behaviour.’

The contract is to be pushed through and opponents who will not shut up are to be disciplined and silenced! However, the junior doctors have the support of all trade unionists and the vast majority of the population.

They must call new strike action and demand that the entire BMA and all of the TUC trade unions take part in the action to win the struggle by bringing down the Tories and bringing in a workers government.

However, at this critical moment the trade union bureaucracy and others are seeking to hold back the struggle. The furthest the trade union leaders will go is to call for Hunt to resign – to see him replaced by a lookalike, while Unite is ‘reluctantly’ supporting the call for mass resignations!

Lancet has also entered the fray, with an editorial by Professor Martin Roland and Sir Samuel Etherington that states, as the battle rages over junior doctors contracts, that ‘the crisis will not be averted by focusing on hospitals.’

‘Hospitals’ £2bn deficit “certainly sounds dramatic”, they argue, “but hospitals don’t go bust – someone usually picks up the bill”. General practice doesn’t have that luxury, and its share of the NHS budget has fallen from 11% in 2006 to under 8.5% now.’

The editorial continues to argue that General Practice should look after itself, turn its back on the struggle of the junior doctors and reach a deal with the government on its terms by accepting that instead of insisting that 8000 more GPs are urgently trained and properly supported to go into General Practice, that ‘new roles are needed to take the “strain off” clinical staff, for example, physician associates, pharmacists, and advanced practice nurses.’

There must be no split between the junior doctors and the GPs right at the point where 90% of the public want the junior doctors to beat the Tories. The junior doctors and the BMA must call new strike action and the whole of the BMA and all of the TUC trade unions must come out with them.

This is the way to defend the NHS and to defeat the Tories, by organising an indefinite general strike to bring in a workers government and socialism, under which the crisis of the NHS will be speedily resolved for the benefit of all.