Monday, 13 October 2014


I couldn't not comment on today's strike. I've seen this situation arise before, where long suffering staff have been provoked beyond endurance, and when they finally react the powers that be hide behind the patients, bleating about how the strikers are causing suffering to the sick. It makes my blood boil. A health professionals ultimate obligation is to fulfill the terms of their contract, no more, no less and the ultimate responsibility for caring for patients lies with the Health Minister. The fact that people work in the health sector does not carry any obligation to work extra hours for nothing, or to carry on working when their employers shit on them. To try & morally blackmail people into accepting a wholly unacceptable situation, so that you can carry on turning the screw is cowardly and repugnant.
I remember full well when the nursing and other professions accepted review bodies as pay arbitrators. We in medicine had had one for years and it was obvious that nurses leaders hadn't bothered to look and see how it worked in our case. The body simply was a puppet of government, usually awarding the government diktat, and totally ignoring the case for the profession. I remember at the time thinking it would all end in tears.
And how. This years recommendation of 1% would have been a slap in the face even if it were paid, after the last few years of frozen pay. But what did they (and we) get? "You're not getting it if you're not at the top of your incremental scale!!!!!!!!". WTF? Incremental scales are in my view wrong in themselves. I remember when I started as a consultant, many years ago. I did exactly the same job as my older colleagues, and took on exactly the same level of responsibility, and yet I got paid less, purely on the basis of my age. Can you imagine if they tried to introduce differential pay on the basis of sex or race? Perhaps I should shut up, I dont want to give them ideas. New consultants may lack experience, but they more than make up for it in the up to date and modern practices they bring, and the concept of increments is nothing more or less than blatant age discrimination. At least in my day it only took eight years to reach the top of the scale. In yet another underhand disguised pay cut it now takes over 20. So now you don't get a pay rise because you are already a victim of institutionalised agism. Only the best paid in each profession will get anything.
And that twat Hunt bleats about how many fewer nurses there will be if the pay rise is awarded, because they can't be afforded. Well how many fewer nurses will we have when large numbers get to feel that they are undervalued to the point of contempt, and decide to just fuck off? When the public realise how badly health staff are treated how many younger people will review their decision to go into health in the first place?
I've seen a lot of governments, a lot of prime ministers, and a lot of health ministers in my time. When it comes to the provision of health services they were all shocking. But this lot are the worst by an order of magnitude. They're indifferent, uncaring, cynical, manipulative, dishonest, lying, cheating, self serving, smug and pompous. What a bunch of vile loathsome fuckers.
Our own "union" the BMA of course are not doing anything to protest doctors' pay, that would be too much to hope for. The only thing they've ever resisted was the threat to higher awards. Why do people remain members?
Striking staff deserve our fullest support. Unison and the other organisations involved are to be commended at last for digging in their heels. If they hadn't done it now, they'd have had to do it next year. By which time they might well have private sector employers. Which is perhaps why their pay is being squeezed in the first place.

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