Striking Doctors Are A Disgrace (But Patients Should Not Worry Too Much)




Date: February 2016


Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA



Junior hospital doctors working for the National Health Service have been striking and pictured marching through the streets with angry faces and badly drawn banners. I find it all very depressing.


I was a junior hospital doctor back in the early 1970s and although we worked much harder than today’s doctors (168 hour weeks were not at all unknown and working weeks of 120 hours or more were commonplace) and were paid a pittance (under £700 a year I seem to remember), we would have no more dreamt of going on strike than today’s young doctors would dream of turning off their mobile phones and closing their Twitter accounts.


Today’s call for the strike has apparently been supported by 99% of junior doctors.


If there had been a vote in the 1970s, the vote would have been the other way round; with 99% voting not to strike.  Oh how the world has changed.


Greed engenders greed.


I find it deeply depressing that doctors should even contemplate punishing patients because they have a dispute with their employers.  

The gentlemanly, professional thing to do would be to resign en masse and give the requisite period of notice.


I am particularly saddened because today’s pampered young doctors are striking not because Britain’s health care services are among the worst in the world, or because the incidence of infection in British hospitals is higher than anywhere else or because Britain’s cancer survival rates are the worst in the developed world but because they aren’t happy about the new contract they’re being offered.


The strike is about money. Don’t let anyone tell you different.


The striking doctors don’t want more money for patient care. They don’t want less money spent on administration and more on treatment programmes. They aren’t fighting for the sick. They are fighting for themselves; selfishly demanding a better contract and more cash.


Despite this, the selfish little buggers have been prancing around in the streets holding up banners carrying slogans such as ‘Save the NHS’.  They should be struck off the medical register for entirely unprofessional behaviour.


The junior doctors are also complaining that the NHS bosses now want them to be available for work at weekends so that patients can be treated seven days a week. The doctors will, of course, be paid for this inconvenience but their complaint appears to be that they won’t be paid enough. And lots of them don’t want to work weekends because to do so would cut into their social lives.


The miserable little bastards should have trained as accountants.  


Naturally, as their posters suggest, the doctors and their union officials persist in arguing that they are going on strike to improve the NHS in some strange way. This is a blatant lie and reminds me of the sort of spin favoured by politicians and corporate public relations spokespersons. Actually, it also reminds me of the confectionary companies claiming that they are making their chocolate bars smaller in order to fight obesity.


Modern doctors have proved time and time again that as a profession they don’t give a damn about patients or the NHS. The death of medicine as a profession is now complete.


Still, patients need not worry too much.


Whenever and wherever doctors go on strike, the incidence of doctor induced disease falls, the number of deaths from hospital infections drops and, not surprisingly, the nation’s death rate goes down. Undertakers hate it when doctors go on strike because business goes into a steep decline.


Copyright Vernon Coleman February 2016