NHS: Junior doctor’s open letter to David Cameron goes viral

Jeremy Hunt last week issued doctors an ultimatum by warning that they must accept new working hours which cover the weekend

Kunal Dutta
Tuesday 21 July 2015 09:23
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A junior doctor’s open letter to the Prime Minister highlighting NHS workers’ low pay and long hours has been shared online more than 100,000 times, after the Government announced plans to push for seven-day services.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, last week 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 Janis Burns, who works at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, challenged the Prime Minister to attempt to treat a patient “on the brink of death” after a long stint of night shifts. “You try managing that after you’ve been up all night and then tell me the NHS isn’t 24 hours 7 days a week 365 days a year,” she wrote in the letter. She also accused Mr Hunt of “deliberately attacking” the profession and being “hell-bent” on convincing the public that doctors do not provide a seven-day service.

“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.

After Mr Hunt announced plans to remove the opt-out from doctors’ contracts which means they do not have to work Saturdays or Sundays, the BMA accused him of a “wholesale attack on doctors”.

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