Letters: Jo Rust, May 17, 2016

Striking junior doctors with an empty seat for health minister Jeremy Hunt  at their negotiating table outside West Suffolk Hospital ANL-160426-104907001
Striking junior doctors with an empty seat for health minister Jeremy Hunt at their negotiating table outside West Suffolk Hospital ANL-160426-104907001

Big Eye’s most recent column, about the junior doctors’ action, was so far off the mark I felt compelled to address it.

The junior doctors haven’t decided that the pressure is too great and the pay is not enough, they are fighting to ensure that patients remain safe when being treated by them. Jeremy Hunt is trying to impose contracts which they did not sign up to. He wants to redefine what were classed as unsocial hours, which would no longer include Saturdays and evenings. Hunt was also proposing to take away the current financial penalties that are used as a deterrent for trusts operating unsafe working rotas without adequate rest periods and he was trying to redefine what was termed a night shift, meaning that doctors could finish at 1am and still be expected to be back in work at 8am, which they argued would result in tiredness and patient safety concerns. There was no abuse to patients when they took the action as the consultants covered their work. The junior doctors I stood on the picket line with had been into work before they took industrial action and they were going back to work when they finished, for which they’d receive no pay. That’s what I call dedication.

Jo Rust, Gayton Road, Gaywood