Monday, 18 June 2012
Are Doctors Superior To Other Workers?
On Thursday doctors who are members of the BMA intend to strike against reforms to their pay and pensions. I've yet to meet anyone who agrees with their action and I've met a few who are more than angered by it as appointments have been postponed.
Two acquaintances have had communications saying their appointments would be delayed but no future dates were supplied. One, who has arranged a trip to New Zealand in the early autumn, telephoned the hospital to ask if a date could be offered but was told they were completely 'snowed under' and it would take some weeks before dates and times could be reorganised.
Another is being left to worry for longer. When anyone has a health problem which is referred to a specialist, they are concerned. This acquaintance has been told that she will possibly require surgery and possibly the sooner the better, but her appointment for Thursday has been postponed and no future date offered as yet. She will continue her wait in a state of anxiety and that can't be good for anyone's health.
The BMA in Scotland blame the health boards which, they say, were informed of the strike action months ago.
Under the pension plans, which at present only apply to England and Wales but are likely to be introduced in Scotland, the age at which doctors retire would be raised from 65 to 68 by 2015. Their pension contributions will increase by up to 14.5% which they say is twice as much as other public sector staff.
But, GPs aren't public sector staff. They are self-employed, yet BMA members will refuse to see non-urgent patients on Thursday - although they will be 'in their usual workplaces and patient safety remains their top priority'. Who will define 'non-urgent'? Receptionists?
The English Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has written to the BMA suggesting GPs work next Saturday to clear the backlog from the strike action. Deluded man. The BMA responded:
"Doctors know the industrial action they take cannot be the same industrial action taken by any other work force. This is why doctors will be in their usual workplaces and patient safety remains their top priority." source
They are taking the same industrial action as other workforces. Industrial action involves causing the most disruption possible and that's exactly what they will do on Thursday.
There is one work force which refuses to hold the country to ransom by striking and that's our Armed Forces. They may have a few deluded senior officers who make feeble attempts at mimicking union leaders, but overall the personnel realise service to the people of this country is an honour for which the receive an average salary. Thousands are being sacked and will lose a percentage of the little pension they may receive, yet none has downed arms in protest.
So on Thursday, let's be grateful we have one public service which continues to operate through thick and thin. That's more than can be said for our doctors who are certainly not superior to any other workers.