Sunday, October 11, 2015


Somewhere down the line, we have most certainly forgot to treat our colleagues as adults.

No, I am not even being mildly sarcastic about it. It's a fact- ever since the junior doctor contract erupted, the plethora of views have been fascinating to observe- but there comes a point when we, as a community, must respect the position adults,as a group, are taking. We call them "junior" doctors but they are anything but- these are people who in any walk of life would have been respected for what they are..after all, these are people adult enough to decide to have families, people adult enough to have mortgages- yet somehow many have decided to treat this particular workforce as anything but. I will tell you how I see my "juniors"- adult colleagues who are helping me do my job. Along the way, if I can help them develop- even a fraction to the point I got from my Consultants- well, that's very good indeed.

But why? If you look at the various issues, the pay factor comes into play- and I am tired of hearing comparisons between different professionals- and I mean everyone. Stop comparing junior doctors to a cleaner- or a banker. Different jobs, responsibilities etc etc- stop that- that helps no one, and disrespects others, let alone doctors themselves. There are far bigger issues- most notably- hours and its protection. Is there a degree of hysteria around it? Perhaps- but note many who have leapt in with advice, don't do the job themselves. It's a bit like advising Rooney to take the corner properly when you wouldn't have even made the school team. Would I give advise about right payment to a journalist- no- because I have no idea how much slack they have, how honest they are or even how hard working they are.

Let's be crystal clear on this- if our junior colleagues AND nurses held to their contracted hours or asked to be paid for for every extra hour worked, that 1 billion deficit would have looked decent in comparison  The counter? It's a vocation- so you must. Let me point out a fundamental flaw in that logic. Look at the Oxford dictionary: "Vocation: A person's occupation, especially regarded as worthy and requiring dedication". Or "A  strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation". Anything jump out? Let me give you a clue- its about making people feel valued- make them feel valued- the vocational aspect comes to the fore. Some seniors point out to the hours they worked- yes indeed, different circumstances, without the burdens of administrative issues, with the perks of free accommodation- with the golden pot at end of rainbow such as Consultant salary, permanent contracts and a guilt edged pension to look forward to.Sorry did I forget to mention CEA points?
We aren't offering our juniors those- or in the process of taking those away/reducing them- so where exactly does the vocation aspect come from? Not valued, less security to look forward to...vocation, strangely enough doesn't pay your mortgage.

I don't want a strike- but do admire the unity of junior doctors. Apart from a few with their own views-biased as they are, there isn't many left who feel the junior doctors ask is unfair. It isn't about pay but about safety. It isn't about money but recognizing that in 2015, a woman taking a break to have her family doesn't make her any less a "high-flyer"- and most importantly, in an environment where you need the workforce to deliver any efficiency, imposition of unilateral views is daft and unnecessary. The letter from Mr J Hunt shows a willingness to take it forward and to someone who enjoys negotiating, there appears areas to sit and discuss. BUT it does need to be accompanied by removal of any threat of imposition. Threats and negotiations aren't good bedfellows- ask the middle East

Finally, its about being treated as adults. Our junior colleagues are being treated poorly- and whatever be the belief, we should as a whole, recognise that. Not denigrate, not sneer- point out politely what could help- but treat them as adults. Be a friendly critic- as I have always said, not about the pay (wrong argument) but about safety and equality. But I don't mind if that's not listened. Do you know why? Because they are adults.

And adults must and should have a right to choose and fight for their future.

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