A junior doctor’s damning open letter to the Prime Minister highlighting NHS workers’ low pay and long hours has been shared online over 40,000 times, after the Government announced plans to push for seven-day services.
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has issued doctors an ultimatum by warning that they must accept new working hours which cover the weekend or else he will impose the changes unilaterally.
But NHS workers have responded to the announcement with anger, arguing that many already work over the weekend.
Janis Burns, 34, a Cambridge graduate who works as a junior doctor for the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust captured the mood in a furious open letter on Facebook.
“On Wednesday morning this week I returned to work at 0800. I worked the weekend in Intensive Care as a junior doctor, for your information I was working from 2000 to 0900 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday i.e. I was part of the team that provided a 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service,” she wrote.
Accusing Mr Hunt of being “irresponsible” and “hell bent” on convincing the public that the NHS does not run a 7-day service, she implored the Government to bring in compulsory “safe staffing” levels.
Ms Burns went on to challenge the Prime Minister to attempt to tend to a patient “on the brink of death” after staying up all night and to “tell me the NHS isn't 24 hours 7 days a week 365 days a year.”
Highlighting the poor pay NHS workers receive and sky-high student loans they are burdened with, Ms Burns used the letter to flag that she earns less than an assistant manager at food chain Pret-a-Manger.
“Can you explain to me exactly how all my hard work is being rewarded?” she asked the Prime Minister.
“I truly love my job and my career but I think you have lost sight of the bigger picture. It's all very good claiming you want a world class health service but if you continue to act irresponsibly and vilify doctors by suggesting we don't provide a 7 day a week service you will destroy the NHS,” she wrote.
Ms Burns’ letter is signed off the #ImInWorkJeremy – a hashtag doctors have been attaching to tweets of themselves at work on the weekends.
NHS workers caused the hashtag to trend on Saturday morning in the UK, after it was used tens of thousands of times.
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