This Government’s crass and seemingly incompetent junior doctors’ contract has halted another 5,000 operations by forcing them to carry out further 48-hour strike action. And the signs point to this dispute ending with white flags raised at the Tory HQ.
The privatisation of Britain’s much-loved NHS has been a difficult task for the Conservative’s strategists. Obscure the destruction through dressing it up as patient-centred progress under the “7-day NHS” buzzword has been the plan. But the truth is never far from the surface:
Breathtaking. In took just two years for Jeremy Hunt to completely wreck our NHS. pic.twitter.com/icvK9ddj49
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) March 6, 2016
As the graphic shows, almost all NHS providers have gone from surplus to a deficit within just two years. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have still managed to increase public debt by 11% since 2010.
The contract is paradoxical because it demands more from the NHS while providing nowhere near enough funding or staff. One junior doctor said:
The way to solve this is to increase the number of doctors, to increase the number of support service and increase the funding of the NHS.
Here are eight striking reasons the government is set for defeat in this dispute:
1.) Doctors are the most trusted profession
An Ipsos MORI poll in January found that doctors remain the most trusted profession, with a huge 89% trust rating. The Conservatives were fighting an uphill battle from the very beginning.
2.) Politicians are the least trusted profession
The same poll found that politicians are the least trusted profession, with a 21% trust rating. The government are in the worst position possible to convince the public they cannot trust the doctors.
3.) The public blame the government for the strike
The British people overwhelmingly say the strike is the government’s fault. An Ipsos MORI survey found that 64% blame the government, while only 13% blame the doctors.
4.) Jeremy Hunt is the most hated politician
The chief of the government’s side of this dispute happens to be the most hated front-line politician of any political party, by a considerable margin. Hunt scored a -48 approval rating in the YouGov survey.
5.) Democracy says keep the NHS public
YouGov found that Britain rejects the privatisation of the NHS, with only 7% supporting privatisation. Meanwhile, 84% opt for public ownership.
6.) The Tories face a united front from the two most trusted professions
Healthcare and teaching professionals have promised a united front against the government. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is considering strike action against the government’s forced academisation of every school in England. This union has expressed its desire to “take action with junior doctors”.
Teaching is the second most trusted profession, with an 86% trust rating.
7.) The corporate press will struggle to alter public perception
Journalists do not score much higher than politicians when it comes to public trust, with a 25% trust rating. Despite The Telegraph, The BBC, The Evening Standard and other corporate outlets all focusing on the short-term inconvenience caused by the strike, and running headlines steering blame towards the doctors, nearly two-thirds of people still back the latest doctor’s strike. These headlines remove context and focus on the basic cause and effect: the doctors are striking, which means operations will be cancelled. Whereas the context of an impossible contract should be front and centre.
Journalists will have a hard time overcoming the most trusted profession in the country.
8.) The junior doctors will not give up
This latest 48-hour industrial action is the fourth strike from the junior doctors. With the teachers and public opinion behind them, the doctors plan for an unprecedented full removal of labour on 26 and 27 April. This will be the first time in the history of the NHS that staff have refused to provide emergency care. Pressure on the government will be reaching breaking point.
The government is fighting an increasingly uphill battle against the most trusted profession in the country. Doctors are people who are hardwired to keep patients safe. Whether it is a broken leg or a dangerous new contract, the doctors will fight tooth and nail for their patients. It is likely only a matter of time before the government is forced to backtrack, yet again.
–Sign this petition against Hunt’s contract.
–Support The Canary so we can continue to expose the Conservatives.
–Write to your MP, asking if it is now official government policy to move towards a pay NHS.
–Express solidarity with the junior doctors on Twitter with #JuniorDoctorsStrike.
Featured image via Twitter (@PMOTUK)
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