UK Junior Doctors Strike: It’s not about money, it’s about ideology


Quite rightly, there’s a lot of talk about the junior doctor’s strike currently ongoing in the UK. On social media, in national and international news, and on the mouths of anyone with an invested interest in their nation’s health, we’re not short on things to say. But the differing opinions, the emotional sentiments and the rage directed at Jeremy Hunt, seems to make it harder to see what exactly is going on. So here’s my piece.

Firstly, I’d say that a junior doctor’s strike had to happen. Drastic, yes, but, quite literally, it was the last line of defence between the NHS front line and the government’s money-grabbing mitts which seek NHS privatisation. NHS junior doctors are striking about the imposition of their ‘unworkable’ new contracts first and foremost, but there is another reason and that reason is ideological.

The more sceptical of the British public have asked; isn’t this really about the money? And I say to this, if it were, these NHS junior doctors wouldn’t be training to become doctors, would they? They’d be working at HSBloodyC and making a mint without the responsibility of having to deal with people soaked in their own blood and vomit every day of the week. But they aren’t, because they, unlike the government, care about people.

Instead of just seeing this junior doctor’s strike as a dispute about (seemingly cushy) new contracts, you should see it as a bigger stand against conservative ideology which seeks to lessen public services and make everything more profitable. Even if that’s to the detriment of public welfare and living standards.

The anger of NHS junior doctors, as well as doctors, nurses and health carers from across the service, is evident. These are the people that have to deal with the daily struggles of a failing system. They can see with perfect clarity, how the cuts to funding have affected operation and how there are just not enough trained workers to go around.

If you’re someone who has a hard time believing what incensed and emotional people have to say however, perhaps you’d rather take your information from the calm and reasonable Jeremy Hunt, conservative UK Health Secretary and co-author of a book calling for NHS privatisation. Yeah, take his word for it, the guy who published a book about selling off the NHS.

Despite this not being widely reported, people, thankfully, have found enough reasons to hate Jeremy Hunt with respectable vigour. Everyone loves an archetype and Hunt falls perfectly into the role of a power-crazed villain who we can all boo offstage. But, and this is a strong but, if you can’t see that this poor, scrawny man is simply a puppet for the government, then you’re blind, and I say that in the kindest way possible. Hunt does the dirty work so Cameron’s face can be kept clean.

Take a second to remember what it is this government wants. They don’t want social justice, class equality or a healthy national welfare system, they want ‘economic growth’, i.e. profit. They want to eek the minimal wealth out of the hands of the poorest and most vulnerable, and use it to top up multi-billion-pound budgets for arms manufacturing, war mongering and international development (ostensibly ‘aid’ but more accurately a race for resource and trade domination). And for what? To say we’re the best at screwing over our own people? To get an enviable pension pot for our great great great great grandchildren? Sorry if I don’t consider these admirable goals.

This all leads back to NHS privatisation, trust me. It leads back when we ask ourselves how the government can support a growing population while also being (supposedly) “key players in the world economy”. The answer; they can’t. And between a healthy, fair society for all and capitalist gain, you know what they chose? They chose the later.

And how do they start pulling back money from the billions of common, everyday taxpayers? They attack public funds.

And there you have the first reason for NHS privatisation. Ask yourself; with a service already stretched to breaking point, with severe cuts to funding, staffing shortages and, now, the imposition of a contract that will stop junior doctors from filling the gaping holes in the system, what, if anything, can save the NHS from all-out failure?

At this moment, just at the point where the entire service is about to keel over lifeless and defeated, the government will swoop in, saving the decade that they just ruined, and say Hey, here’s what’s cheaper… how about we outsource our NHS needs? How about we turn that N into P? How about we stop incentivising British citizens to become doctors (one of most honourable careers of the modern age) and we instead hire private companies from abroad, utilising the soon-to-be implemented TTIP agreement, and screw over anyone who can’t pay for services that were previously free?

Et voila, there you have NHS privatisation and the downward slide into further inequality for the 99%. We’d all be outraged if we weren’t too tired, sad and disaffected to care.

Read more about TTIP and how the international trade agreement, along with the potential ‘Brexit’, will speed up NHS privatisation here.

Image source: Metro

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