A doctor has inadvertantly launched the latest online salvo against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, after he posted a photograph of himself moping a hospital floor on Facebook.
Stuart Gould, a consultant surgeon at North West London NHS Trust, posted the image of himself, apparently mopping a hospital floor at 10 o'clock at night, waiting to carry out his next operation, as a thank you to his surgical team.
In accompanying text Mr Gould writes that "this little story is not about me" but about his team of trainees who "all stayed well beyond the call of duty" to help with the operation.
Within hours his photograph and message had been shared more than 38,000 times and Mr Gould admitted in a later posting he had been "a little overwhelmed" at the response.
Mr Gould's post appears to have struck a chord with overworked medical staff and those angered by the health secretary's comments about seven-day working for the NHS.
Mr Hunt sparked a row with the medical profession when he said the British Medical Association (BMA), the doctor's union, needed to "get real" and negotiate about seven-day working.Since then a petition calling for Mr Hunt to be sacked has received more than 100,000 signatures, while Twitter was inundated over the weekend with selfies from doctors and nurses at work, posted under the hashtag #iminworkjeremy.
Mr Gould's message also addresses Mr Hunt. He tells the health secretary that the NHS "depends" on the commitment and professionalism of people like his team at North West London.
"My two assistants had been on call all day," he wrote, saying some of the staff had been at work for 17-hours.
One of them, he said, was unable to get home and planned to sleep on the floor.
"And guess what, they will all be at it again from 0800, as will the consultant anaesthetist with me," he wrote.
Mr Hunt is spearheading the Conservative government's NHS reform plans, which include a call for the removal of consultants’ ability to opt out of weekend and evening working.Reuse content