Every voter needs to see this NHS doctor’s extraordinary act on a packed train

NHS doctor on a train
Support us and go ad-free

An NHS doctor was responsible for an extraordinary interruption in people’s daily commute recently. As you’d expect from a doctor, the apparent motive behind his intrusion was saving lives. And it’s something every voter should see.

Issue number one

The doctor was caught on camera addressing a packed carriage. Attempting to draw people out of the ordinarily solitary experience of such journeys, he urged them to think about two issues in the upcoming general election:

First, he spoke about the NHS, saying:

I’ve been a doctor working in the NHS for 10 years now. I’ve watched it degrade over the time since I’ve graduated from chronic underfunding. They say they’re putting more money in, but it doesn’t keep up with demand.

So when I’m seeing your mum and your dad in the corridors because there’s no beds, and I’m having to apologise because they’re not getting the service when they’re having a heart attack. The hospitals are already full in August, I don’t know what’s going to happen this winter.

Figures released on 14 November support the doctor’s account. England’s A&E departments produced their worst waiting times on record in October. The target is for 95% of patients who attend A&E to receive treatment or admittance within four hours. Hospital A&E units only managed 74.5% in October. Performance of A&Es overall, which includes walk-in centres and urgent care centres, sat at 83.6%. Both are record lows since targets were introduced in 2004.

In a press release, GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said:

The devastation of our health service is an avoidable tragedy and the direct result of ten years of Conservative cuts.

Boris Johnson also refused to rule out further privatisation of the NHS in a recent interview. Meanwhile, numerous discussions between UK and US officials on drug pricing in any post-Brexit trade deal have fuelled concerns that for-profit pharma companies could charge the NHS much more for drugs under a Conservative-led government.

Issue number two

Secondly, the doctor raised the climate crisis:

We’re out of the time of projections and wondering whether it’s happening, we’re watching it happen now. We’re in the sixth mass extinction on this planet. It’s not projections, we’re counting species going extinct.

Indeed, in 2017, scientists reported that the “biological annihilation” of wildlife over the past few decades has triggered the world’s sixth mass extinction event. In October 2018, the World Wildlife Fund reported that human activity was responsible for 60% loss of diversity of vertebrate animals between 1970-2014. More recently, the UN warned that:

1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

Furthermore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its climate report in October 2018. It concluded that global warming must be kept to 1.5°C at the most, half a degree hotter than right now, if we’re to limit the most severe effects of climate change. The UN said we had 12 years, until 2030, to change our ways enough to limit warming to that level.

Clear as day

As the doctor argued, the climate crisis is already here with regular and vicious wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, and droughts. And there are multiple animal extinctions year on year. Clearly, we’re also seeing a crisis in the health service.

The doctor asked travellers to think about these critical issues in the election. “We can’t go on in the way that we are”, he said. That’s the choice facing voters. Whether to vote for the Conservatives: the creators and disciples of a system that has helped to bring us to this ghastly point in our NHS and planetary history. Or whether to back a party, Labour, which is promising change.

Featured image via Twitter

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us