Friday, 12 February 2016


It is quite difficult to explain to non-medics the significance of 11th February 2016 in the status of medical care in England.

You certainly won't get a balanced view from the mainstream media, who seem incapable of analytical understanding of the issues. Soundbites provided by press offices seem to be easy to regurgitate as fact whilst ignoring the complexities.

The bald facts are that the Secretary of State for Health decided to impose a new contract on Junior Doctors (anyone who is not a consultant or a GP), in the stated belief that he is working towards a seven-day NHS (whatever that means). He uses some cherry-picked statistics to back this up (despite the authors being unhappy about his hi-jacking of their data in a selective way), and attempts to take the moral high ground.

Imposition of a contract on people who are very intelligent, highly motivated and have transferable skills is a recipe for them to leave, retire, resign or emigrate: this will happen in record numbers over the next few years. You do not treat professionals like this: if you stop treating people as professionals, they will stop behaving like professionals - they will not be minded to cover difficult shifts, they will work to their contract and no more. This is the rule of unintended consequences.

Over the next few months I shall be chronicling the unintended consequences of this rash decision, and pointing out where things can be changed for the better.

11th February 2016 was the day where the English NHS started to die.

Weep for what we are about to lose.