‘Total support for junior doctors’ – 102 CONSULTANTS WRITE TO SIR BRUCE KEOGH

Hundreds turned out to picket at King’s College Hospital in Camberwell
Hundreds turned out to picket at King’s College Hospital in Camberwell

102 CONSULTANTS have written an open letter to Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England, in support of the junior doctors. It reads:

‘OPEN letter from 102 consultants to Sir Bruce Keogh.

Dear Sir Bruce, Re: Proposed junior doctors contract changes.

We, the under-signed, wish to express our total support for our junior doctors in the on-going dispute between them and the Government. We are profoundly disappointed at the intransigence shown by the Secretary of State for Health and the public misinformation which he has spread about the negotiations and his persistent partisan misinterpretation of the available scientific data.

We value our junior colleagues’ selfless dedication, their professionalism and the enormous contribution they make daily providing excellent care for our patients and sustaining the National Health Service. We strongly support our junior doctors and agree with them that the proposed contract changes are neither safe nor fair. We were looking to you to offer your support to the junior doctors also. It was disappointing to hear that you felt that, in the possible event of case of a terrorist attack, junior doctors might lack sufficient commitment to medicine and to humanity that they might not immediately come in to their respective hospitals during industrial action to help cope with the emergency. The subsequent release of your correspondence leading up to that press statement damaged your standing and credibility on commenting on this dispute in an impartial fashion.

Equally unfair were the threats made by Mr Jeremy Hunt that in the case of deaths of patients during the strikes, he would make every effort to have junior doctors struck off the Medical Register. This aggressive and bullying approach should have been condemned. It is disappointing that you allowed Mr Hunt’s comments to pass without defending the medical profession.

The Government has set out to impose a new junior doctor contract which will have wide ranging and negative impact on the training, the retention of highly skilled doctors and the morale of the whole NHS workforce. It will affect the pay and working conditions of the junior doctors, and ultimately will impact on the safe provision of healthcare. The new contract will be unfair to trainees who wish to balance time spent raising families with their training, who wish to undertake original medical research or who choose to increase their expertise by training in more than one specialty. In an interview in January 2011, on Leaders in Medicine, you went to great lengths to explain that the weekend was for you and your family only and not for work. Indeed, the Government’s own equality and diversity impact assessment clearly indicates that it will discriminate against female colleagues and regards this as justifiable collateral damage in the pursuit of other ends. The proposed contract will remove the statutory safeguards which currently protect trainees from working unsafe and unfair hours in a given week, leading to an overworked, overstretched, and exhausted workforce, which will still be relied upon twenty-four hours a day to provide safe healthcare. Thus, the new contract is a threat to patient safety and goes against the very principles that you and the NHS promote.

The Government has repeatedly linked its proposed new contract to the provision of a “7-day service”. You know that our junior doctors already provide round the clock care every day of the year. The so-called “weekend effect” is based on persistent misrepresentation of the available data. Similar concerns have been expressed by consultants about the use of inaccurate and unreliable data of the stroke services to undermine clinicians and the services.

The proposed new contract will have a serious adverse effect on the recruitment, retention and morale of the junior doctors who currently provide the “7-day service” that the Government keeps promising for the future. You will be aware of the problems of recruitment and retention faced by smaller specialties, such as Paediatrics, and particularly Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, and by the acute specialties, including A&E, Acute Medicine & ICU. In these specialties, because of the stresses involved, and not helped by the Government’s expectations and lack of commitment to improve the morale, more than 10% of the consultant body has already left the NHS in the last two years to move abroad to better working environments. There are more consultants likely to move abroad in the near future too. The NHS should be aiming to replace these consultants by trainees either currently in training or from among new recruits, the very people who are being discouraged by the new contract changes.

In a recent article (The Observer, April 9th) you correctly state that junior doctors feel “disengaged and powerless”. You did not clarify that they have been brought to this state by a Government which refuses to negotiate with them and is imposing a contract which is neither safe nor fair. Junior doctors, represented by the BMA, have the backing of the Royal Colleges and of Patient Associations when they call for the Secretary of State to de-escalate the situation, withdraw from imposition of the proposed new contract and enter into meaningful negotiations. In failing to call upon the Secretary of State to stand down from imposition and to negotiate, you are ignoring the opinions of the Colleges and the vast majority of the medical profession.

Responsibility for the on-going dispute rests not with junior doctors but with the Prime Minister and his Secretary of State for Health. We are immensely appreciative of the dedication and excellent service provided by the junior doctors in the hospitals throughout the country. We stand by them and fully support their reluctant decision to undertake industrial action. On April 26th and 27th, emergency services will be provided by the most senior doctors in support of their junior colleagues and we will take every possible step to ensure that there is no disruption to the safe care of the patients. We support all genuine efforts to achieve a sustainable agreement on the contract issue in order to maintain a safe NHS and produce a contract that will be fair for the junior doctors and safe for the patients. We urge you to support the junior doctors also.

Yours sincerely

The undersigned consultants have individually confirmed their support through this letter:

cc: Mr Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A

1. Shakeel Qureshi FRCPCH Professor of Paediatric Cardiology

2. Kevin O’Kane FRCP Consultant in Acute Internal Medicine

3. Ben Fitzwilliams FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

4. Amit Pawa FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

5. Katy Nicholson FRCPCH Consultant Paediatric Oncologist

6. Louise Izatt FRCP Consultant in Cancer Genetics

7. Jon Lillie MRCPCH Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant

8. Sarah Good FRCPS Consultant Orthodontist

9. David Wrench FRCPath Consultant Haematologist

10. Dan Smith FRCR Consultant Clinical Oncologist

11. Finbarr Martin FRCP Professor of Elderly Care Medicine

12. Adil Ajuied FRCS Consultant Specialist Knee Surgeon

13. Leon Monzon FRCR Interventional Radiology Consultant

14. Mary Wain FRCP Consultant Dermatologist

15. Imran Mohammad FRCA Consultant in Anaesthesia

16. Tarun Sabharwal FRCA Consultant in Anaesthesia

17. Dhruba Dasgupta FRCR Consultant in Nuclear Medicine/ Radiology

18. Robert Sarkany FRCP Consultant Dermatologist

19. Robert Carr FRCPath Consultant Haematologist

20. Claire Hopkins (FRCS-ORLHNS) Consultant ENT Surgeon

21. Anna Fourie FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

22. Shehla Mohammed FRCP Consultant Clinical Geneticist

23. Michael Marber FRCP Professor of Cardiology & Hon Consultant Cardiologist

24. Sheng Lim FRCOphthalmol Consultant Ophthalmologist

25. Rosalinde Tilley FRCA Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine

26. Duncan Wyncoll FRCA Consultant in Intensive Care

27. Nicholas Ioannou FRCA Consultant in Intensive Care, ECMO & Anaesthesia

28. Charlotte Taylor FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

29. Jake Powrie FRCP Consultant in Endocrinology

30. Michael Douek FRCS Consultant Surgeon

31. Heng Gan FRCA Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist

32. Luis Amaya FRCOphth Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmic Surgeon

33. Teresa Syszko FRCR Consultant Radiologist

34. Martin Drage FRCS Consultant Transplant & Access Surgeon

35. Zameer Shah FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

36. Jo Howard FRCPath Consultant Haematologist

37. Shaheen Khan MRCP Consultant in Palliative Medicine

38. Marc George FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

39. Aisling Brown MRCP Locum Consultant in Infectious Disease & General Medicine

40. Steve Connor FRCR Neuroradiology Consultant

41. Deepti Radia FRCPath Consultant Haematologist

42. Roshan Navin MRCP Consultant in Acute Internal Medicine

43. Susan E Robinson FRCPath Consultant Haematologist

44. Eithne MacMahon FRCPath Consultant Virologist

45. Rebecca Preston FRCR Consultant Radiologist

46. Mufaddal T Moonim FRCPath Consultant Histopathologist

47. Pippa Kyle FRCOG Consultant Obstetrician

48 Amelia Hughes MRCP Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine

49. Nigel Beckett FRCP

Consultant Physician in Ageing & Health

50. Roland Walker FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeo

51. Yasmin Dean FRCA Consultant in Anaesthesia

52. Stam Kapetanakis FRCP Consultant Cardiologist

53. James Gossage FRCS Consultant Oesophagogastric & General Surgeon

54. Ali Kubba FRCOG Consultant Community Gynaecologist

55. Andy Gaya FRCP Consultant Clinical Oncologist

56. Andrea Bille FRCS Consultant in Thoracic Surgery

57. Thomas Krasemann FRCPCH Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist

58. Anthony Hulse FRCPCH Consultant Paediatric Oncologist

59. Jason Scott FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

60. Jonathan Lucas FRCS Consultant Spinal Surgeon

61. Tony Wierzbicki FRCPath Professor of Clinical Chemistry

62. Jugdeep Dhesi FRCP Consultant in Geriatric & General Medicine

63. David Daniels FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

64. Rob George FRCP Professor of Palliative Medicine & Palliative Care Consultant

65. Gareth Morgan FRCPCH Consultant in Paediatric & Adult Cardiology 66. Jamal Mortazavi FRCEM

Consultant in Emergency Medicine

67. Martin Laque FRCPCH Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine

68. Holly Gettings FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

69. Shallini Panchal FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

70. Luigi Camporata FRCP Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine

71. Jim Fleet MRCP Locum Consultant Geriatrician

72. Rupert Oliver MRCP Consultant Neurologist

73. Angela McLuckie FRCA Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine

74. Nadia Short MRCP Consultant in Acute Internal Medicine

75. Vivek Srivastava FRCP Consultant in Acute Internal Medicine

76. Koorosh Alaghband FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

77. Peter Jay FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

78. Shum Dev FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

79. Charles Thorburn FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

80. Sian Griffiths FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

81. Ajanta Kamal MRCPCH Consultant General Paediatrician

82. Sanjay Gulati FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist

83. Nizam Mamode FRCS Professor of Transplant Surgery

84. Dan Tweedie FRCS(ORL-HNS) Consultant Paediatric ENT Surgeon

85. Chris Meadows FRCA Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine

86. John Criddle FRCPCH Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine

87. Ivan Tomasi FRCS Consultant in Emergency Surgery

88. Rebekah Schiff FRCP Consultant in Elderly Care Medicine

89. Irene Carey FRCP Consultant in Palliative Medicine

90. Anthony Kaiser FRCP Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics

91. Babu Kulasegaram FRCP Consultant in HIV & Genitourinary Medicine

92. Caroline Davies FRCA Consultant Anasethetist

93. Matthew James FRCS Plastic Hand and Aesthetic Surgeon

94. Matt Wright FRCP Consultant Cardiologist

95. Andrew Slack MRCP Consultant in Critical Care

96. Catherine Williams FDSRCPS(Glasg) Consultant Paediatric Dentist

97. Taryn Pile MRCP Consultant Physician & Nephrologist

98. Di Back FCRS (Ed) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

99. Ali Abbasuan FRCS (T&O) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

100. Rachel Kesse-Adu FRCPath Consultant in Clinical Haematology

101. Jane Terris FRCEM Consultant in Emergency Medicine

102. Saurabh Goyal FRCOphthalmol Consultant Ophthalmologist .’