Lamb on junior doctors’ vote in favour of strike action: Government has “woefully mismanaged” negotiation

Today, it was announced that junior doctors had voted in favour of strike action by an overwhelming majority. 98% were in favour of action which will begin on 1st December.

Norman Lamb has condemned the Government’s handling of the situation and told Jeremy Hunt to do everything he could to avert the strike:

It’s a serious concern that we have reached a point where junior doctors are prepared to take strike action. The Government has woefully mismanaged this contract negotiation and Jeremy Hunt must act urgently to resolve the dispute. Everything possible must be done to avert the strike which could damage patient care.

It is legitimate to review working practices to ensure they best meet patients’ needs. However these proposals could mean less protection and a cut in pay for those junior doctors expected to work extremely long hours. That is clearly not in the best interests of patients or of NHS staff.

How do you think the dispute should be resolved?


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  • Totally agree with Lamb, Hunt really is wet behind the ears, supremely clueless, he actually makes Michael Gove look statesmenlike by comparison, a feat previously beyond human comprehension.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Nov '15 - 10:57am

    It is a standard tactic of trade unions under current legislation to ballot theirmembers to get support for the priciple of a strike, in the hope of bringing the employer to the negotiating table. This is what a junior doctor on the BBC TV Daily Politics said had happened and why she had voted for it.
    Committee chair Dr. Sarah Woolaston was also there. Although she takes the Conservative whip she was selected through an open primary before being elected as an MP.
    People do get ill and have accidents at weekends and on public holidays. Part of the problem is the previous contract negotiated under a Labour government. Today’s news that the Treasury is looking for cuts in Health spending. Jeremy Hunt is only the front man (fall guy?) The Chancellor is also the First Secretary of State, with the ambition to be PM as a variry of previous Chancellors from Harold MacMillan, Ken Clarke to James Gordon Brown have done, even though the job is very different.

  • “People do get ill and have accidents at weekends and on public holidays”

    And because of this, hospitals and A&E departments are open on weekends and bank holidays.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Nov '15 - 12:04pm

    It is not enough for Accident and Emergency units to be opened at weekends. They must be adequately staffed. I had an accident on a bank holiday Monday in our back garden, tripping on a rabbit hole and falling into a bonfire. Using first aid training I put my right arm into the garden pond, because water has a high specific heat. My wife took me to Tunbridge Wells hospital in our car, where we waited for hours and hours. The A&E unit said that their caseload was double the usual because of the bank holiday. Some units needed were not available at all. GPs were closed.
    On the Tuesday the hospital was back to normal and I was referred to a specialist burns unit in East Grinstead. The building had been built quickly and cheaply for Canadian soldiers in World War II. The staff were execellent.

  • Part of the problem is that even Margaret Thatcher backed down from taking on the medical establishment ie. the BMA and the Royal Colleges, even though there is a need for them to be brought kicking and screaming into the present day. So introducing change was going to involve tough negotiations…

    I think the first step in moving forward is for the government to hold a public consultation on both the changes in service it is proposing, the new contracts of employment, and the safeguards it is proposing to prevent exploitation of doctors and to protect patient interests. Because it is clear that neither the government or today’s media are really interested in communicating anything other than soundbites and the associated posturing. (I think the junior Dr on the BBC did well in giving us a glimpse of the complexity underlying parts of the contract.)

  • Richard Underhill 20th Nov '15 - 12:38pm

    “What’s wrong with ACAS?”
    Nothing, but the Health Secretary is not free to negotiate. The Chancellor is standing behind him.

  • “Using first aid training I put my right arm into the garden pond”

    If something like this happens again, don’t stick it in the pond, get to a cold tap. Infection is a big risk in burns, and pond water is not the kind of thing you want near it…

  • Richard Underhill 20th Nov ’15 – 12:04pm……………..It is not enough for Accident and Emergency units to be opened at weekends…..

    Sadly, as been said many times, we expect European standards of care whilst paying USA rates of tax…..specialist burns unit on call 24/7? what about specialist eye, heart, etc. units?….

    As for ACAS, if “Yes, Mr. Murdoch” Hunt had any case at all he’d be the one demanding arbitration…

    BTW, Richard, “Jeremy Hunt is only the front man (fall guy”?????? Not as long as he has a PA to fall on his (Jeremy Hunt’s) sword…

  • Next week the Chancellor is likely to announce a rise in the basic state pension of £3.35. This is only happening because of Steve Webb and the Lib Dems being in Government for 5 years. Lets tell everyone what Steve and the Lib Dems did. Lets make sure we are on TV & Radio and in newspapers locally letting everyone know this is happening because of the Liberal Democrats..

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