The junior doctors are taking the fight against Jeremy Hunt to the pop charts – by releasing a charity single to help save the NHS.
Dr Rishi Dhir, an orthopaedic registrar at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, has teamed up with Dave Randall (formerly a guitarist for Faithless and Dido) to produce the track “Stand Up”. The idea is to help support the junior doctors’ message that they will not accept the controversial new contract, which is now being imposed by Hunt from October of this year.
As The Canary previously reported, junior doctors rejected the new contract in a referendum, in July – with 58% voting against the deal while 42% voted in favour. Nearly 68% of those eligible turned out to vote via British Medical Council (BMA) – around 37,000 junior doctors and medical students.
The basic arguments against the contract are clear. These include the fact that junior doctors already work shifts which cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week; that the contract itself is discriminatory against women; that the evidence stating mortality rates are higher at the weekends is flawed; and that patient care, in the event of the contract being imposed, will worsen – as existing staff will be stretched even further than they already are.
However, Hunt appears steadfast in his belief that the contract should go ahead. He asserts that he has the right to force the new terms and conditions upon the junior doctors, and is intending to do so, with effect from this October.
Speaking exclusively to The Canary, Dr Rishi says:
Over the last few months the British public have demonstrated their love and commitment for the NHS and respect for public sector workers. They have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with doctors, nurses, teachers and other health care workers. We ask them to fight on with us. In “Stand Up” we hope to get the message out that we will not accept this new contract – which is leading to privatisation – and will fight for the NHS because every human being deserves free at the point of contact health care.
Dr Rishi has completely funded this himself, along with writing it, directing the video and doing the promotion. He asserts that the track is “giving me the opportunity to talk about issues such as privatisation and the contracts in a way other doctors have not been able to.”
In my ten years as a junior doctor, I have experienced, first hand, the struggles that we face on a daily basis and the constant striving to gain the best and safest working conditions for patients and staff, which is under serious threat.
Speaking of his motivation behind the track, Dr Rishi was clear in his reasons:
I wrote a song as I believed it was the best way to permeate and get the message out there to the public quickly and effectively at a time when people are fatigued and morale, after Brexit, is low and divided. They say a picture paints a thousand words- well a great song paints a thousand messages.
He continued, saying that:
Over the last few months the British public have demonstrated their love and commitment for the NHS and respect for public sector workers. They have stood shoulder-to- shoulder with doctors, nurses, teachers and other health care workers. We ask them to fight on with us.
With the junior doctors’ “Justice for Health” group currently in the process of mounting a legal challenge against Hunt’s imposition of the contract, and the BMA deciding whether to take more industrial action, Dr Rishi’s track is another weapon in the fight for Britain’s health service.
As he says, “if ever there was a cause worth fighting for, it is the NHS”, and it’s becoming a fight mounted on all fronts. If Dr Rishi has his way, “Stand Up” will not only be the anthem of the battle for the NHS, but will itself battle its way to the top of the charts.
Watch Dr Rishi’s track “Stand Up”:
Support the Justice for Health team in their legal action against Jeremy Hunt.
Sign the petition to stop the junior doctors contract.
Keep up-to-date with campaigns and protest to save the NHS.
Featured image via Screengrab/YouTube
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