The butterfly is a flying flower, The flower a tethered butterfly

Monday, 24 March 2008

Breaking the wall of silence

“They see only their own shadows or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave”

Both, consultants and he Gps are on the golf course spending their obscene earnings of five figure sums plus and not giving the poor tax payer value for money! Terrible! The consultants should therefore be stripped of all autonomy, authority and new consultants be stuck in middle grades and be paid less! And, GPs, work more hours or be replaced by American sharks who are 'kinder' to the British patients! It's what the patients want, isn't it? Well. the consultants and the GPs are highly trained professionals and can fend for themselves or just depart the NHS, 'do a dentist' as they say or rebel if they can no longer tolerate the pressure.

The juniors can not do a dentist nor can they rebel because they 'need' the NHS, at least until they qualify as consultants and GPs. That is 'if' they will be allowed to finish their training and qualify! Not the case of course these days! The young doctors of today are under unimaginable and unprecedented stress, fighting for their right to mere survival in a profession they dedicated their whole to serve and have been preparing for this role for all of their young lives! And we all know, there are no jobs for many of our sons and daughters, no opportunity for them to even try to fulfill their dream. This is so unfair and is a great injustice!

Why is everybody so silent then?! That is, everybody apart from the heroes of Remedy UK? They have been working so hard for the juniors since the fiasco of 2007 and only last week, they held a rally in front of the Houses of Parliament and lobbied many MPs afterwards resulting in questions being asked that same day in the commons. But around 40 people only attended on the day! So, where were all the supporters then?! Remedy UK does not publicize that its founders are doing all this work unpaid; for free! The only benefit they are after is justice for all the juniors now caught in the recruitment debacle and may face career termination unless Remedy fights on their behalf! There was no one else, so those young doctors put their own livelihoods on the line to defend their fellow juniors and preserve the profession they love and are wholly dedicated to! In short, they are proper heroes!

Please support Remedy UK so that they can continue to support you

Another hero who can not keep quiet and is forever vocal when everybody else keeps silent is Mr Bernard Ribiero, the Head of The Royal College of Surgeons, who never misses an opportunity to voice his concern for the thousand of the young aspiring surgeons who may face career termination because of the lack of posts, particularly at higher level. Since before MTAS, he warned the government of the looming disaster and demanded more posts for his surgical trainees. He then walked out on the Douglas Review board last year when they would not consider repeating the very flawed round 1 of MTAS, etc,etc, and of course, one can't forget how well prepared he was at the Health Select committee meeting, he even prepared a folder for the panel containing all the documents they would need for their own report on MMC ... BTW, where is that report and why is it so very late?! Ribiero never misses an opportunity to keep the issue of the lack of opportunity for his trainees in the public domain
. This good man's resolve does not falter as he keeps on fighting any which way he can and continuously warns of the loss of talent this country will suffer if no more jobs are created for his trainees to save them. Another true hero.

I had high hopes that the current Secretary of State for Health will do more to save the juniors who may lose out this year. I felt so because he has already helped protect British graduates as well as trying to grant priority for the Brits through the House of Lords. But, I was a bit dismayed when he did not answer Andrew Lansley MP's question in the commons which was put forward by Remedy UK on 18 March 2008. He was asked if it was fair that many doctors, who have been working and serving in the NHS and are now 'midway' through their specialist training, will lose out this year and may face career ruin? But, Mr Johnson evaded the question! Instead, he spoke about architects and lawyers as well as other professionals not being granted a job at 'the end of their training!' Lansley shock his head but did not get a chance to get a relevant answer! I wonder, is it possible that Alan johnson is not aware that the threatened doctors are actually midway through training and can not work anywhere else but the NHS? Unlike the lawyers and the architects who have already 'finished' their training? We need to let Mr Johnson know the difference then ... He asked for individual cases to be presented directly to him and I personally can't see why can't the parents of those affected write to him as well ... even anonymously if they prefer .... Let's raise the man's awareness of the issue ...

Of course, I have written about the juniors pay before, then today I found this!

So, not only are the juniors fearful for their future careers in medicine but those who are 'lucky' to get jobs and work day and night to serve their patients to the best of their ability will most probably not be able to earn a decent living to support their own families and reward them for their hard work and dedication as well as their never ending aspiration to excellence!

We can't keep quiet anymore, we need to regroup if we are to break this new government tactic; the wall of silence, while our sons and daughters are pressured from every direction. They do not deserve this injustice!

We must all become vocal again, very loud. Let's properly support Remedy UK in its fight for the juniors rights ... and populate it's all now so quiet forum. Let's voice our opinion when there is a media article we can leave a comment on, regroup mums4medics and write letters to our MPs and the media, specially The Telegraph and channel 4 who supported the juniors issue last year. We need to draw everybody's attention again and I know we can do it, team work .. together.

Let's wake up, get out of bed ..... and break this new tactic; the wall of silence!

because there is so much at stake! Our sons, our daughters and the whole of British medicine!

“Consider the momentous event in architecture when the wall parted and the column became.”


Witch Doctor said...

Hi, Sam,

What's happened to Fidelio? Did they have a presence on the 18th? The site is still down.

They were a strong group of senior doctors and their voice on the internet was a means of keeping other senior but "non-political" medics informed.

Do you suppose they've been asked to remove their Website? Or perhaps there is some disagreement among them?

Or maybe they are actively planning a stronger internet presence and really are upgrading the site?

Are Remedy still in touch with them?

Lots of questions and no answers.

Just wondering........

Hope you had a Happy Easter too.

Sam said...

Thank you witch doctor, I did and hope you had a good Easter too.

Fidelio's site has been 'off air' for at least 6 weeks now. I have no idea why is that but since Prof Brown was everywhere including the HSC sessions, I do not believe his group can be intimidated, nor do I believe anyone would want to do so either, since all everybody is trying to do is protect British talent and preserve British medicine. This is an honour, not a crime! :-)

So, I can only assume that the newly granted protection for the Brits may have convinced him and his colleagues that everything will be OK, specially if he was given assurances that priority for the Brits will also be granted at The Lords, but this is only my own assumption. Could it also be that they know something that we don't? ..... BTW, I arrived late at the rally so have no idea if he was there. Then again, maybe they are 'refurbishing' their site and will be back soon, I hope.

fiona said...

There certainly does seem to be a dearth of information at the moment, Sam. I'm sure this is at least in part due to the lack of a central portal and the application process being at the Deanery level. The only details I have seen regarding this application round are that there have been 59,000 applications for 8,500 ST posts in England and 55% of these applications have come from IMGs. Of course this high ratio of applications to posts is a reflection of multiple applications to different Deaneries, possibly an average of 3 applications per applicant by my reckoning. So still a high percentage of overseas applicants, without which I think there would be enough jobs for UK graduates (but maybe not in the speciality of their choosing). Let's hope the House of Lords decision is the right one and in the meantime, Deaneries will fill their Round 1 posts with UK graduates!

Maybe there will be more activity on the Remedy forum once Round 1 is completed and the House of Lords decision is forthcoming. And once the availability of jobs in Round 2 is known.

I think Bernard Ribeiro is the most high profile of all the College Presidents because surgery has been the most affected, particularly with regard to potential career termination for doctors part way through their training (clearly an issue that Alan Johnston does not comprehend!). Keep up the good work, Bernie!!

BTW, I have written recently to my MP (a Tory) and he says they will keep pressure on the Govt "to enable junior doctors to pursue their vocation in medicine in this country". He knows my son has gone to Australia. I would also praise Andrew Lansley, who seems genuinely interested and clearly understands the problems facing the junior doctors. Hopefully, the opposition will continue to press the government at every opportunity.

Sam said...

fiona said...
'There certainly does seem to be a dearth of information at the moment, Sam. I'm sure this is at least in part due to the lack of a central portal and the application process being at the Deanery level.'

Exactly, 'in part' as you say. Of course, we also have a very different Health Secretary from Ms Hewitt. Unlike her, he does not talk much and, unlike her, he will not allow himself to be drawn to confrontations either! This one won't be 'heckled.' so, 'keep it quiet' is his strategy. Of course, so far, he has 'quietly' done things his predecessor would have never thought of IMO, protecting the Brits, and he has already let it be known that this protection will not have an impact this year or even in 2009 (to avoid confrontation), plus trying to secure the priority for the Brits bit. This man is more 'competent :-), read his Wikipedia entry. If anyone knows how to not just be content with mere comptence but aim high and strive for excellence, it's him ... and he did; another reason why IMO, he will do much better than his predecessor. But we shouldn't also be fooled, he is also 'formidable' .. but, that is the price you pay for 'excellence', right? The concept is double edged. If only we can win him over somehow! This is why I think maybe, with all his duties, he is not fully aware of the reality of the situation , hence, the parents of those affected should write to him IMO, it is worth the try.

'Let's hope the House of Lords decision is the right one and in the meantime, Deaneries will fill their Round 1 posts with UK graduates!'

From what I hear, I think this is already happening, quietly ... ;-)

And, where did you find the statistics you quoted above Fiona? I could not find any at all!

fiona said...

Hi Sam, with regard to the figures I quoted, they come from a recent meeting of the MMC Programme Board, of which the BMA is a member. They were quoted in an item in the BMA News, which we get each week with our BMJ, as my husband is still a member of the BMA. I'm not sure if the minutes of the MMC Programme Board are generally available, so it is useful to get some of this information from BMA sources.

Sam said...

Please keep us informed of anything you find then Fiona and thank you :-)